April 18, 2014

Solid Waste Disposal Contract and Transfer Station Site Lease go to Town Meeting

ESSEX—A new 15-year solid waste disposal contract with the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, and an updated host town lease agreement for the regional solid waste transfer station, go to the voters for action at a town meeting set for Nov. 7. The town meeting will be preceded by a public hearing on the agreements that begins at 7 p.m. in town hall.

First Selectman Norman Needleman said Monday the agreements that resulted from nearly a year of negotiations with the statewide trash authority would provide the town with new revenue, along with payment of rent and other incentives for hosting the regional facility that were never received by the town. “It’s a nice deal for us that will provide Essex with revenue going forward,” he said. The proposed agreements that were approved by the board of selectmen last week provide $229,721 in up-front payments to the town.

A renegotiation was necessary because the long-term disposal contract with CRRA and the lease for the regional transfer station expire next month. Essex, along with the other eight towns in the Connecticut River Estuary planning region, signed up as member towns for the CRRA’s Mid-Connecticut incinerator in the mid 1980s.

In the late 1980s, Essex agreed to become the host town for the regional transfer station located on Dump Road off Route 154, just south of the Deep River town line. Trash from the area towns is compacted at the Essex facility and then trucked to the incinerator in Hartford. The facility also collects recyclables from the area towns.

Needleman said the renegotiation was complicated by the discovery that CRRA had never provided some of the payments and benefits promised to Essex under the 1980s agreements. The town was supposed to receive a rental payment for the transfer station site equal to 20 percent of the annual property tax bill for the Dump Road parcel. But the site of the regional transfer station was never separated from the larger town property off Route 154, and a tax bill was never sent to CRRA.

Needleman said it was also confirmed that since 2007, Essex has not been receiving the promised host town payment for solid waste and recyclables processed at the CRRA facility. The payment was to be based on the number of tons of material processed at the facility.

Under the agreements to be presented for approval at the Nov. 7 town meeting, the town will receive a payment of $31,765 to cover the unpaid rent for the regional transfer station site dating back to the late 1980s. There will also be a one-time payment of $197,956 to cover five years of unpaid host town payments for materials processed at the regional facility.

Needleman said the town would also receive payments of $15,000 per year for lease of the regional transfer station site over the 15 year lease contract that runs through 2027. The town will also receive host town payments of 54 cents per ton for materials from other towns processed at the regional facility each year. The facility has processed between 65,000 to 70,000 tons of materials per year in recent years, a figure that would represent about $37,000 per year in revenue for the town. The amount could decrease if fewer tons are processed at the facility.

Under the 15-year municipal service contract, Essex will be required to pay CRRA a per ton tipping fee for trash and recyclables generated in Essex that are processed at the regional facility. The tipping fee, set initially under the agreement at $59.50 per ton, is less than the $70 per ton fee Essex and other towns are now paying for use of the facility.

Needleman said the municipal service agreement with CRRA, along with the updated site lease and host town agreement, would be presented to voters for action as a single resolution at the Nov. 7 town meeting. Most of the towns currently using the CRRA transfer station, including Chester and Deep River, have already approved the new 15-year contract with town meeting votes.