April 23, 2014

Essex Expects Payment from Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority

ESSEX– The town is expecting a lump sum payment from the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority to cover a promised benefit that was never provided for serving as the host town for the authority’s regional transfer station.

First Selectman Norman Needleman announced at Wednesday’s meeting of the board of selectmen that he is expecting an answer from the CRRA board of directors next month on the exact amount the town would received for serving as the host town for the regional transfer station that serves nine towns in the Lower Connecticut River Valley. The regional transfer station is located on town property off Route 154, just south of the Deep River town line. The facility compacts trash from area towns that is then hauled to the CRRA Mid-Connecticut incinerator in Hartford.

The regional transfer station has been in full operation since about 1989, with Essex promised a benefit for serving as the host town for the facility. Needleman said he and members of the sanitary waste commission have been negotiating with the authority in recent weeks to secure some of the host town benefits that were promised, but never provided, to the town. The negotiations come as the authority asks area towns to renew long-term contracts for disposal of municipal solid waste that expire in November.

Needleman said Essex was promised two incentives for serving as the host town for the regional transfer station, including a host town payment of .50 for each ton of municipal solid waste that is processed at the facility. Another promised benefit that dates to the formation of the regional trash authority in the mid-1980s calls for an annual payment equal to 20 percent of the annual tax bill for the parcel that contains the regional transfer station.

Needleman said he is prepared to waive the provision for a 20 percent payment because the amount would be less than $30,000, and the town never sent the authority a tax bill for the partial payment. But Needleman said he is insisting on a payment of the host town benefit dating back to 2007. The payment, representing fifty cents on each ton of trash processed at the facility over the past five years, is expected to total more than $100,000.

Needleman said he is also seeking strict requirements that CRRA properly maintain the site of the regional facility, and has rejected offers from CRRA to buy the site from the town. While the town’s contract with CRRA for solid waste disposal expires in November, the lease for the site of the regional transfer station extends to 2015.

Needleman said he would not bring a proposed new long-term disposal contract with CRRA to the board of selectmen and town meeting for approval until the outstanding issues regarding the site and the host town payment are resolved.

Deep River and Chester in December approved new 15-year disposal contracts with CRRA. The new contracts provide for a tip fee of $59.50 per ton for trash processed at the regional transfer station and the Mid-Connecticut incinerator, less than the $70 per ton fee the towns are currently paying to CRRA.