Concord may leave regional trash co-op
Concord could leave the regional trash cooperative.
The city council last night authorized City Manager Tom Aspell to withdraw from the 25-member co-op. Aspell said he’ll do so if it’s in the best interest of the city.
On Wednesday, the co-op’s member communities will vote on a new contract with Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., which operates a trash incinerator in Penacook. The co-op has an existing agreement with Wheelabrator through the end of 2014, but the new contract would take effect retroactively to April of this year and continue through 2022.
But Concord, the co-op’s largest member, may not be part of the new contract. The city has been seeking new options for its trash disposal. In April, Concord issued a request for proposals from trash disposal companies.
The city received proposals from all the major trash haulers in the area, General Services Director Chip Chesley said at a May co-op meeting, according to the meeting minutes.
The city is under a contract with Bestway Disposal Services to pick up the city’s trash and deliver it to Wheelabrator’s incinerator in Penacook. Ashes are then transferred to a landfill in Franklin. Bestway Disposal Services has since merged with Casella Waste Services.
Concord’s request for proposals issued this spring includes pickup and disposal services. The city is exploring all options, officials have said, though they had not indicated before this week whether they would exit the co-op.
The co-op has anticipated that Concord could leave; its proposed contract with Wheelabrator contains a contingency plan.
If Concord is not part of the agreement, the co-op must maintain just 58.5 percent of the trash it currently delivers to Wheelabrator, according to a summary that was provided to co-op members. If Concord remains part of the co-op, tonnage must be at least 75 percent of the current amount.
Jim Presher, the co-op’s director, said Concord contributes more than 27,000 of the co-op’s 87,000 tons.
The new contract would reduce tipping fees to $64 per ton. That rate can increase between 1 and 5 percent each year, according to the terms of the contract.
If cities and towns don’t enter the contract, they
could continue paying the existing tipping fee of $66.80 per ton to work with Wheelabrator until the end of 2014, Presher said.
Under the co-op’s proposed contract, Wheelabrator will deliver ash to the landfill in Franklin only through 2014, or until the landfill runs out of space.
Communities will still formally be part of the co-op if they vote against the contract next week. Even if it’s not part of the new contract, Presher said Concord would have a stake in the co-op’s assets. There is a separate process through which towns or cities can withdraw their membership.
Since it was created in 1985, the Concord Regional Solid Waste/Resource Recovery Cooperative has contracted Wheelabrator to dispose of trash for member towns and cities. Concord wouldn’t
be the first community to leave the co-op. Hopkinton and Webster withdrew in 2010, and Allenstown has an agreement to leave at the end of 2014.
The co-op member communities will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Bow’s municipal building to vote on the contract.