Thursday, September 04, 2008

Trash disposal facility discussions

There are so many moving pieces here, it's difficult to know where to start. This post on the July 8 Council meeting is probably best.

Tonight's meeting was an expansion of that presentation. It included strategy discussions and was not entirely a public meeting. And since I didn't take detailed notes on what was discussed during executive session (vs. what was discussed in public)... I'm keeping this brief.

I voiced my view that while I prefer to rely on free markets over government run programs... with electricity, we've all seen how terribly wrong the deregulation of a utility can go. And since I consider trash disposal to be similar to a utility (in that almost all of us need the service and it's significantly less expensive when provided collectively*), I'm hesitant in moving straight to the free market when this contract expires.

And in a sense, that's the question... do we move away from the quasi-governmental CRRA and to the worldwide Waste 2 Energy company, Covanta? Or do we extend the existing program with CRRA? Also keep in mind that the electricity that is generated by the W2E plant is a big component of this deal... and as electric rates have risen over the past few years, so have the interests in running the plant.

And conflicting with the interest of generating high value electricity is my desire to increase recycling... if something gets recycled, it doesn't get turned into electricity. So the facility operator would earn less revenue.

Regardless, building a more sustainable world is a must IMO.

Anyway, we'll probably be meeting on this again within the next couple weeks because the deadlines are about to start hitting us fast.

Tim White

* It was mentioned tonight that each Cheshire household pays approx. $160/yr for trash collection via our tax-deductible property taxes. On the other hand, in an unscientific study of Town Hall ee's... it was found that trash collection services - in towns without municipal collection - run $245 to $410/yr.

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