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Five Things You Need to Know From Monday's City Council Meeting

Check out briefs on city business addressed Monday night by the Woonsocket City Council in the Feb. 7, 2012 edition of Five Things to Know Today.

Water treatment plant progress-

Things may finally move forward on the purchase of a site for . According to Public Works Director Sheila McGauvran, the Rhode Island Department of Health sent a letter to the EPA last week recommending that the city move forward on the project. DOH officials initially indicated that the city was purchasing more land than needed for the facility. 

Waste contract-

The City Council voted last night to extend Woonsocket's contract for trash removal with Waste Management of Rhode Island for one year. The five year contract, signed in 2007, was set to expire in June of this year, but Superintendent of Solid Waste/Engineering Division Mike Debroisse told the council he believes the city will save money by continuing the services. The contract was intially approved with the option for two one year extensions.

Audit committee-

A resolution authorizing creation of a Financial Audit Committee received unanimous second passage by the council. The group, which is expected to report to the City Council on a monthly basis on Woonsocket's financial reporting processes, consists of Council President John Ward, Councilmen Albert Brien and Daniel Gendron, School Committee Chair Anita McGuire-Forcier and School Committee member Christopher Roberts. Two members of public will also be asked to join the committee and Ward indicated that five or six residents have applied for seats. The committee is currently expected to meet twice monthly on Mondays at 5 p.m., although Ward emphasized that the date and time of the meetings may change.

Interjurisdictional agreements-

Negotiations of for the use of Woonsocket's wastewater facility were put on hold Monday night after Public Works Director Sheila McGauvran indicated that she needed guidance from the City Council regarding the city's demands. The agreements govern the cost for use of the facility for the towns of Bellingham, North Smithfield and Blackstone. McGauvran initially recommended that the city maintain the current cost structure in which Woonsocket covers 80% of the fees, but Councilmen Daniel Gendron and Albert Brien have indicated that they feel the city should receive host fees and that the cost split should be more like 70/30. The council is expected to draft legislation giving McGauvran specific instructions for negotiation. 

Waste to Energy-

Several residents spoke against a resolution in support of House Bill 2012 H 7049 to facilitate creation of a in the City of Woonsocket Monday night, including a representative from Clean Water Action. The legislation, if passed at the General Assembly, would end a twenty year ban on such facilities in the state. Council members Ward and Robert Moreau indicated that although they would likely vote against a resolution to create such a trash burning incinerator in the city if it came before them right now, they want to explore all possible options to raise revenue.  According to council members, until the bill is passed, Woonsocket will not be able to fairly consider the option by ordering a feasibility study. The resolution was passed by a six to one vote with all members except Roger Jalette voting in favor of supporting the bill. 

give me a break February 07, 2012 at 09:21 AM
now thats what I call a council who really are for the good and welfare of the citizens of woonsocket. A city of smell
Memere February 07, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Since this city is on the verge of bankruptcy, why is this administration insisting on buying land for a water treatment plant? I understand that a new water treatment plant is needed however, the city already owns land that could be used. As a city taxpayer, I strongly object to spending money on this land! Let's stop spending money foolishly!!!!!!
The Chorus February 07, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Memere - I'm hardly a fan of Leo or the city council, but do you really think that they'd be entertaining purchasing property if the city already had property that was suitable? Your 'strong objections' are akin to whining about having to replace the breaks on your car.
Mark Gray February 07, 2012 at 07:57 PM
H7049 is not a bill to study the feasibility or costs/benefits of a trash incinerator, it is a bill that would not only immediately overturn the state's ban on incineration but also classify incineration as "renewable energy" AND establish an incinerator specifically in Woonsocket. Council President Ward and others who supported the resolution said they didn’t necessarily want an incinerator to be built, but cited the need to "explore every option" for the City of Woonsocket—and the only way to do that would be to overturn the ban. But imagine if the ban were overturned, and the Council, after “exploring” the incinerator, decided that building one would not be in the best interest of Woonsocket? Well at that point, with the incinerator ban now void, any surrounding town could decide to have one built there… and Woonsocket would have to deal with the ramifications of a facility it had decided against. Perhaps some issues (those dealing with air quality and waste disposal, among others) are better handled on the state level--although I do understand the City feeling hamstrung by the General Assembly when it comes to righting their fiscal ship.
Memere February 08, 2012 at 02:03 AM
As a taxpayer I am entitled to my opinion. That is not whining. That's freedom of speech. I was raised to believe that if you don't have the money, you don't buy it. When you're already in a hole, stop digging. Perhaps you "The Chorus" would rather the city declare bankruptcy???????
The Chorus February 08, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Memere - Oh Yes, That's exactly what I want. That's what the Mayor wants. That's what the council wants. That's what everyone who doesn't agree with you wants. Please...I should have known better to engage with you on this matter - you are right - you are free to have your opinions as am I. My opinions are rooted in reality...the city has no wiggle room - they must replact the plant. The location cannot be selected based on whether the city already owns property. There are many factors involved in selecting a viable location (including economic) - environmental, infrastructure, etc. Do I wish that the city owned a viable piece of property for this project? Of course. But unlike you, I'm not going to WHINE about the reality of the situation. If you're all up in a tizzy about the $390k for the land, I can't wait to read your whining when the cost of the plant comes due. It is what it is.
give me a break February 08, 2012 at 07:47 PM
and what makes that land worth 390k. check the tax data base
The Chorus February 08, 2012 at 09:57 PM
I don't need to check tax database...the land is worth what a buyer (in this case the city) is willing to pay. If you owned the land, wouldn't you try to get the highest price you could?
The Chorus February 08, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Also..not sure why we're still talking about buying the land and the price...council approved the purchase on October 18.
la_mouffette February 09, 2012 at 01:53 AM
You're so, so right Mark. The council is saying no waste incineration company is going to waste time making us offers if that kind of plant is illegal here. But I do not like the idea that we must vote to make them legal BEFORE getting facts, feasibility and health information. That really unsettles me.
la_mouffette February 09, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Wow, Chorus. I agree, the City is being told we have to replace the plant. But "reality" also includes the fact that the current location comes with real problems. It'll cost millions just to blast away that bedrock and prep that land, and Logee may or may not be able to support the heavy trucking this site will bring. We're all frustrated. There are no good answers. Yelling at an old woman on the internet is a big help, right? Saying "it is what it is" is how this city got to where we are now. Can you really blame memere for feeling this way?
la_mouffette February 09, 2012 at 02:59 AM
I applaud councilman Jallette for not supporting the energy waste bill. We are too small and too urban a city to have highway traffic, an open-tank wastewater treatment center, a sludge burning facility, mill fires and demolitions, AND a facility that burns trash as well. I don't care how well filtered it is-- There's only so much particulate you can put into the air! Are we desperate for money? Absolutely. We're on the brink. But with cancer rates and air quality already what we are, I think this is probably a bad option for us.
The Chorus February 09, 2012 at 02:06 PM
la_....My response to Memere was not in caps...hence I was not yelling...just because her user name is Memere doesn't mean she's "old" - I know people in their 40's with grandkids that call them memere...lastly - If I recall correctly - all of the viable sites that were considered had extraneous costs above and beyond the cost of land and plant.
nunya February 09, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Does anyone know when they are supposed to start construction on the land off of Jillson? I would like to move out of the area before then.

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