In this August 2019 file photo, the sorting equipment at Coastal Resources of Maine removes items that it can sell on the recycling market before converting the remaining waste into biofuel and other materials. Credit: Courtesy of Fiberight

The financiers that put up more than $50 million to build a Hampden trash plant could recoup as little as $1 million in the sale of the facility that’s been closed nearly two years.

The Municipal Review Committee — the group that represents the 115 Maine towns and cities that used the facility in the six months it ran — will put in an offer to buy the Coastal Resources waste plant for $1.5 million, the group said Tuesday. 

The financiers that funded most of the plant’s construction, largely investment funds based outside of Maine, would receive as little as $1 million from that sum, after payments to cover outstanding taxes, utility bills, maintenance and plowing. 

The move is part of the group’s latest effort to gain control of the facility from the bondholders that have the ultimate authority to sell it and restart the plant that’s been dormant since May 2020.

The Municipal Review Committee’s board of directors on Friday approved an arrangement through which the bondholders would solicit a new round of bids to buy the facility, but the public committee would submit a “stalking horse bids.” If the bondholders do not find a better offer by June 30, they would sell the facility to the Municipal Review Committee for its $1.5 million bid.

That offer is a fraction of the $52 million the bondholders paid toward the facility’s construction.

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Karen Fussell, president of the Municipal Review Committee’s board, said Monday that the group’s stalking horse offer would be within its available resources.

The group had nearly $12 million in assets at the end of last year, according to a January report. But if the group secures the plant it will have to figure out a way to fund its initial operating costs before it is profitable, which could include looking at state or federal funding opportunities, Fussell said. 

Sawyer Loftus is an investigative reporter at the Bangor Daily News. A graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he worked for Vermont Public Radio, The Burlington Free Press...