PLYMOUTH — While the City of New Bedford has filed a lawsuit against ABC Disposal to keep the company from raising rates for recyclable collection after June 30, the Town of Plymouth has taken it one step further, stating it will formally terminate its contract with ABC, effective that date.

WBSM News has obtained a letter sent to ABC CEO Michael Camara, and signed by four of Plymouth's five selectmen, informing the company of the termination. It states as the reason for the termination that "ABC has failed to provide a performance bond as required by Article 18 of the (agreement between the Town and ABC), and...has stated its intention to discontinue providing for the collection of single stream recycling in accordance with the terms of the Agreement."

The letter states that despite not being under any contractual obligations to pay more for recycling pickup, the Town of Plymouth "made significant good faith efforts in an effort to find a mutually agreeable resolution given ABC's stated financial troubles." ABC sent a letter to Plymouth, New Bedford, Mattapoisett, Rochester and Fairhaven earlier this year stating it would have to raise the rates it charged each community, due to changes in what recyclables China was willing to import, or else it would cease collecting those recyclables. ABC claims absorbing the additional costs on its own would lead to the company going under.

The Town of Plymouth points out that failure to pick up the recyclables as contracted would mean ABC Disposal has defaulted on the contract, and that default means "the Town has the right to terminate the Agreement by giving written notice specifying the date of termination."

The letter informs ABC it can "cure this event of default" by confirming, in writing, that it retracts its intention to stop collection of recyclables after June 30, and will continue to perform all contracted services until the end of the contract on December 31, 2021.

"If the Town does not receive such confirmation within seven (7) days of this notice, no further action from the Town is required, and the Agreement will be terminated, effective June 30, 2018," the letter states. It also mentions that the Town expects ABC to continue to perform under the terms of the contract through June 30, or "the Town will be forced to seek all remedies at law to compel specific performance under the agreement throught its full term."

Plymouth and the other communities targeted for a rate increase sent their own letter to ABC Disposal last week asking for proof that continuing recyclable collection under the current rates would push ABC to insolvency.

The City of New Bedford filed a lawsuit against ABC Disposal this past Monday in Bristol County Superior Court, claiming the company has charged the City more than $189,000 above the contracted rate since November. The suit also aims to keep the company from increasing its rates from what is currently contracted. New Bedford is in the fifth year of a 10-year deal with ABC Disposal.

Camara responded to New Bedford's lawsuit Tuesday on WBSM, calling it "not fair."

Last week, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said he wasn't about to "write a blank check" for ABC Disposal, and he reiterated that today in his weekly appearance on WBSM.

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