Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Pawtucket 12-05-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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14 PAWTUCKET DECEMBER 5-11, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | PAWTUCKET EDITION In the short-term, said Mayor Donald Grebien through spokesman Wilder Arboleda, the decision on the transfer station directly impacts the fiscal year 2020 budget his administration has to prepare begin- ning in January. "In the long term, multiple tax increases are at risk, as is the future of trash removal services in this city," said Arboleda. Councilor Tim Rudd, whose District 6 plays host to the transfer station, said he's remained steadfast that the city should "get out of the trash business." There is opportunity for solar energy at Grotto Avenue to help off- set the costs of direct hauling, he said. "We can also tighten our belts dur- ing budget time," he said. There are a number of new or past positions implemented by the administration worth between $80,000 and $100,000, not including health care costs, that may need to be revisited, he said. Councilor John Barry III said he and his constituents wouldn't want the transfer station if it was located in District 4. "It would take a great deal of con- vincing for me to not want to close it down," he said of the existing facility. "The residents don't want it. I just think that we've got to get us out of this business." Closing the trash station will come with significant cost, he said, "but I think we have to figure that out to preserve a neighborhood." At one time the facility might not have been "as onerous as it is on that neighborhood," said Barry, but it is now. "Other communities don't have a transfer station and life goes on," he said. "It's been going on long enough and we ought to get it straightened out by February." Moran said he plans to call a spe- cial session in January, where coun- cilors will ask "whatever questions we have to ask." A decision would likely come almost immediately after that meeting, he said. Leaders will then have to decide how to pay for it if there's a move to direct haul- ing, perhaps using city reserve funds or cutting more into the budget, said Moran. "We'll see." Over the last 18 months, every- one has learned that dealing with a transfer station is a complicated and emotional issue, one that affects this community both environmentally and financially, said Arboleda. "The existing, outdated facility and site have been a challenge for this city for decades," he said. "The administration and council under- stand this as we work to determine the best approach with minimal impact as this moves forward." All information, data and finan- cial impacts have been provided to the council, he added. The options included relocation, upgrades at the facility, or closing the facil- ity. Included in this information is updated cost estimates of the options in front of council members, such as closing and remediating the facility, along with increased hauling costs as a result, a tab that could come in at $8 million, "or the equivalent of two maximum tax increases," said Arboleda. "The Pawtucket City Council has made clear that the decision on what to do at the Grotto Avenue transfer station is their sole purview as it is city-owned property," he said. The City Council voted in August to approve a resolution authorizing a six-month extension with Grotto Avenue waste transfer facility opera- tor Waste Connections Inc. WCI had been seeking up to $250,000 in operational and safety improve- ments as part of the lease extension through February 2019, but the council approved only $80,000 in improvements. The cost of making a switch to the direct-hauling trash service seen in many other communities has been estimated at more than $1 million each year, plus a loss of annual reve- nue from transfer station operations. The cost of upgrad- ing the transfer sta- tion has been tabbed at up to $5 million total. Other council members were more noncommittal this week about the future of waste haul- ing in the city. Councilor Albert Vitali Jr. said the transfer station seems to have out- lived its life expectancy. "We should look for other alter- natives for the removal of trash in the city of Pawtucket," he said. "Unfortunately it's going to cost the taxpayers of Pawtucket regardless if we shut it down. I would like to work with the administration to come up with a solution that is ben- eficial for the city and not cost us multi-million dollars." Councilor Michael Araujo said this is a complicated issue. "It is one that needs to be thor- oughly vetted and not one that I feel you can move for- ward on without input and public discussion," he said. "The final deci- sion will impact residents citywide both financially and environmentally. As the council is responsible for making a decision regarding the transfer station site, I feel that we cannot make this deci- sion without holding meetings in order to get input from the residents and from experts. I am looking forward to discussing all of our options." Councilor Terry Mercer said the council will have a full-blown dialogue about options and costs in the com- ing months "about all things trash." "I'm not sure exactly where I stand until we have all the informa- tion and costs in hand," he said. Councilor Meghan Kallman said she's leaning a certain direction but isn't ready to commit yet. TRANSFER STATION From Page One RUDD BARRY VITALI ARAUJO MERCER Do you know someone celebrating a January Birthday? The Valley Breeze Birthday Club for JANUARY will be printed on January 3, 2019. Forms should be received by The Valley Breeze by Friday, December 28, 2018. Send in the name of someone with his or her January birth date and $2 per edition. and we'll include them in the club. The check should be made payable to The Valley Breeze for use in the Breeze charities fund. Mail to: The Valley Breeze, 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite #204, Lincoln, RI 02865. Thank you! Greetings should be 10 words or less. Name: .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. Date of Birth: ............................................................................................................................................ Age: .............................................................................. From: ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Contact Phone Number (for questions, not publication) ................................................................................................................................................. Edition (please check): Cumberland/Lincoln edition ($2) Pawtucket edition ($2) Observer edition ($2) North Smithfield/Blackstone/Woonsocket edition ($2) North Providence edition ($2) Winter Ball Christmas Ball • Solstice Ball • Company Party Tis the Season to be Jolly & Smart... Why buy when you can rent? 2044 Smith St., North Providence, RI (401) 231-2370 www.ourplacetux.com Tuxedo or Suit $ 45 Your Choice

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