Belmont decides not to sign a new 7-year contract to continue to have trash incinerated in Penacook

BELMONT — Selectmen voted against signing a new contract with Wheelabrator last night, deciding to keep the town's options open to see if a competing waste disposal company can provide a better rate.
The board made the unanimous decision to pass on the 7-year contract renewal that would begin in January of 2015 and run through 2022 because the existing contract with Wheelabrator Technology, Inc., which operates a solid waste incinerator in Penacook as part of the Concord Regional Solid Waste/Recovery Cooperative, doesn't expire until the end of 2014.
Town Administrator Jeanne Beaudin told the board she needed the selectmen to make a decision last night because she has to cast the town's vote at tomorrow's co-op meeting where members will decide whether or not to extend the contract with Wheelabrator until 2022.
The Concord Monitor reported Friday that all current coop towns will be covered by Wheelabrator through 2014 and will be charged a tipping fee of $66.80 per ton, which doesn't include transportation of trash to Penacook.
Right now, Belmont, along with most other towns and cities in Central New Hampshire are under contract with Wheelabrator for solid waste disposal. Casella Resource Solutions has made a bid for Belmont's solid waste curbside pickup that is now done by Waste Management.
The town has no curbside recycling and residents bring their recycling to Best Way Disposal — now Casella, which recently merged with Best Way and has expressed an interest in building a solid waste transfer site on Route 140.
At March's town meeting, voters supported a zoning ordinance that would allow the collection of solid waste at the site and, although there is no official plan submitted to the Planning Board at this time, Beaudin said last night that Casella is developing one.
She said last night that Casella has submitted a fee schedule to Belmont that would save about $300,000 over the life of the 7-year Wheelabrator proposed contract. If the Route 140 facility is approved and on-line by 2015, she said the town could save up to $600,000 over the same course of time.
Selectman Chair Ron Cormier said last night that his one major issue with Casella is the company won't drop its proposed tipping fee from $60 per ton to $57 per ton and include curbside recycling.
Last week, Gilmanton Selectmen also voted to not renew with Wheelabrator and to wait to see what other companies will bid on their solid waste contract said Town Administrator Arthur Capello yesterday. Capello said he is preparing a request for proposal he expects to be ready by this fall.
Conversely, both Gilford's and Laconia's governing bodies have voted to direct their representatives to the co-op to continue with the Wheelabrator contract through 2022.