2017-11-17 / Community

Cape seeks composting partner

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

CAPE ELIZABETH – For the first time in a dozen years, the town will be looking for a new company to handle the leaf and yard waste composting program at the Recycling Center on Dennison Drive. Since 2005, employees at William H. Jordan Farm have held a contract to handle the duties, but last week asked the council if they could terminate the agreement, effective at the end of the year.

Public Works Director Bob Malley said he was approached about how the agreement could be terminated because the farm’s business plan was changing.

“I think it is in our mutual interest to do so,” he told councilors Nov. 6 before they unanimously approved the contract termination.

Councilor Penny Jordan, an owner of the business, recused herself from voting.

“We’ve had some other contractors express an interest in managing the program for us,” Malley said

A representative from the farm told the Sentry she “was not ready to talk about (the farm’s new business plan) yet.”

In a letter to Malley, Carol Anne Jordan said the farm decided “that the compost program at the Recycling Center no longer fits with our business plan.” Jordan’s Farm has agreed to remove all farm equipment and screened compost from the property by Dec. 31.

The most recent five-year agreement was signed in February 2015 to have members of the family farm handle the leaf and yard waste material – leaves, grass and wood chips – that comes into the facility, bringing it to the compost area, where it is turned into compost and tested before being sold to Cape Elizabeth residents, landscapers and contractors at the farm, located at 21 Wells Road. As part of the agreement, the town is provided at least 50 yards of finished compost. Depending on space, horse manure, silage, seaweed, cardboard, paperboard, newspaper, sheetrock and some food waste from Cape Elizabeth and surrounding communities may also be accepted.

Partnering with Jordan’s Farm and avoiding having town staff oversee the management of the composting program saves the town approximately $35,000 in operating and labor costs.

Malley told councilors he would like to continue contracting the work out.

“I think there is some interest out there. I don’t see that it has an adverse impact to the town. I would recommend we continue to contract it out,” he said.

Prior to the agreement ending, the town will issue a request for proposals from companies interested in taking over the operation. Those proposals, he said, would be due back in January.

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