MANCHESTER — The town of Manchester is in final negotiations to locate a regional compositing site behind the transfer station on Pine Street and has a new trash hauler.

JRM Hauling and Recycling is the town’s new trash contractor and will be picking up residents’ waste for the next five years.

Town Administrator Gregory T. Federspiel said JRM submitted a more favorable bid once the town’s five-year contract with Waste Management was up. The yearly fees JRM offered were “pretty even” to what the town paid with Waste Management. The key was the fees remained flat year-to-year, something Waste Management reportedly couldn’t provide.

The trash pick-up schedules will not change, according to Federspiel.

As of Friday, contract negotiations are underway between the town and Black Earth Composting, which has proposed a 20-year contract with the town to host a compost site.

Fees for Manchester’s curbside compost program would also be cut from $65,000 to $50,000 per year during this period. This rate will remain flat regardless of how many new customers sign on to the curbside compost program.

“Hopefully within the next month or so we’ll get the details of the contract finalized,” said Federspiel.  

Two decades from now, if the town decides to continue the lease with Black Earth, it will renew automatically without the need for Town Meeting approval. 

Black Earth has also proposed a 99-year lease for the site with no curbside composting fees. At a July 6 meeting selectmen voted to keep this offer on the negotiation table in case the town wants to pursue a long-term relationship with Black Earth in the coming decades. 

Unlike the first proposal, Town Meeting would need to approve the 99-year lease.

The project is expected to cost around $1 million. The town had earmarked a $400,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection for the specific purpose of building a compost site. Fall Town Meeting in 2019 voted in favor of the compost site and spending $300,000 for construction. Black Earth chipped in another $300,000 once it was officially contracted to the project.

In addition, officials had spent $75,000 to engineer the Pine Street plot behind the transfer station, 2001 Pipeline Road (upper Pine Street). 

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

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