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What To Do With Hartford's Garbage?

By Jeff Cohen

May 31, 2012

The City of Hartford hires a public agency to take its trash and burn it into energy. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the city council rejected a new contract this week -- and it's unclear what comes next.

The city's agreement with the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority ends this November. Mayor Pedro Segarra advocated for a new, five year contract with the C-R-R-A -- but the city council voted it down. Councilman Ken Kennedy says one reason he didn't approve it was based on the numbers. He thinks the fee the city would pay is too high. It would be $62.50 a ton.

"My point generally is, one, I'm not sure how efficient they are. And our tipping fee should be less than $62.50.That's been my point."

Kennedy says he'd consider changing his mind if his analysis is wrong.

But there's another hitch, too. C-R-R-A handles the trash of towns from across the region, but it's huge trash-to-energy plant is in Hartford. For that, the agency has paid the city nearly $5 million a year -- it's what they call a host community benefit. But that agreement is also expiring this fall, and the agency says it has a lot less money to give the city. Like a few million a year less.

Paul Nonnenmacher is C-R-R-A's spokesman.

"On the one hand, yeah, we want to make sure we treat the city equitably. On the other hand we want to make sure we treat all of the other rate payers equitably, also. That's the tightrope we're walking here."

So there's a good deal left to be worked out. Jared Kupiec is the mayor's chief of staff. He wouldn't go on tape, but he did say the city is considering other options -- including transporting the trash out of state.

For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.

Reprinted with permission of Jeff Cohen, author of the blog Capital Region Report. To view other stories on this topic, search Capital Region Report at http://capitalregionreport.wordpress.com/.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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