CHARLESTOWN — For another year, the town will allocate 340 tons of its municipal tipping cap to the Chariho Regional School District, although town councilors were more hesitant to approve the arrangement this time around.
The agreement would last from July 1 of this year until June 30, 2019.
“This is the same request that came last year from Chariho,” Town Administrator Mark Stankiewicz said.
Last year, the request came at the end of the fiscal year, after budgets had been approved for the coming year, Stankiewicz said.
Chariho “found out they weren’t going to be able to dispose of their trash at the landfill at the municipal rate,” he said. “They’d have to pay full rate at that time.”
Charlestown and Richmond ended up using some capacity each town had to make up the difference, he said.
Heeding advice from Stankiewicz, the council on Monday extended the agreement for only one year.
Chariho said that without it, it would be charged $65 per ton in the coming year. The municipal rate, by comparison, will increase to $47 per ton on Aug. 1.
The tipping cap refers to the landfill disposal fee established by the state Resource Recovery Corporation for a municipality’s solid waste; a lower rate per ton is applied to waste that is within the cap. The basic fee was set at $39.50 per ton for this fiscal year; waste in excess of the cap is charged $67 per ton.
Regional school systems no longer receive municipal tipping rates.
The Chariho district was informed by Rhode Island Resource Recovery in December 2016 that it would no longer be eligible for the municipal solid waste tipping rate of $32 per ton of trash and that beginning July 1, 2017, its rate would nearly double to $62 per ton.
Superintendent of Schools Barry Ricci asked the three Chariho towns if they could allocate a portion of their cap to the school district, which would make it possible for Chariho to keep its disposal rate at the municipal level.
Richmond and Charlestown signed the memorandum of understanding, but Hopkinton was unable to participate because the town’s trash is sent to the Westerly landfill.
“I remember we came to the rescue last year at the end of the budget cycle,” Charlestown Town Council President Virginia Lee said.
The council said it’s willing to extend the agreement one more year. Hopkinton’s agreement with Westerly expires June 30, 2019, and councilors are hopeful Chariho and its three member towns can then come to a new agreement.
“We should tell (Chariho) we’re not going to do this again unless all three towns participate, because this sets a very bad precedent,” Council Vice President Julie Carroccia said.