By Stephen Seitz
The Southern Windsor/Windham County Solid Waste Management District has decided to refund more than $379,000 in tipping fees it has held since the dissolution of the Vermont/New Hampshire Solid Waste Project in 2008.
The district’s board of supervisors voted to release the money at its regular meeting on July 27, 2017.
Since then, board members have been presenting the checks to the towns during selectmen’s meetings.
“It didn’t seem to make sense for SW/WCSWMD to act as a bank for advancing funds when requested,” district treasurer Bob Forguites wrote in an e-mail. “It was not a matter of SW/WCSWMD waiting a long time before disbursing the dissolution funds – the intent was to retain the funds to cover the expense (without an assessment to member municipalities) if there are things that SW/WCSWMD is required to do. Those expenses would now have to be covered by tip fees or special assessment.”
The Vermont/New Hampshire Solid Waste Project ran from 1987 to 2008. During that time, solid waste from Windsor County and Sullivan County in New Hampshire was taken to Claremont, N.H., for incineration.
The project ended when the incinerator shut down. Funded by tipping fees, that left about $400,000 for the Vermont district.
“The funds received from the dissolution of the Project have been held by SW/WCSWMD to have available if they were needed for operation of SW/WCSWMD without assessing member municipalities,” wrote Forguites. “With the new state-mandated recycling laws, municipalities operating solid waste and recycling facilities are having additional expenses. Some municipalities asked SW/WCSWMD about being advanced some funds to help in meeting the additional expenses.”
The board of supervisors decided to give the money to the member towns, based on the percentage of trash tonnage each town produced over the last 11 years of the compact with New Hampshire.
The board decided to keep $25,000 for cash flow emergencies.
The towns receiving the dissolution funds are: Andover ($1,719); Baltimore ($1,051); Cavendish; ($14,786); Chester ($30,764); Grafton ($5,372); Ludlow ($72,435); Plymouth ($8,956); Reading ($3,912); Rockingham ($48,392); Springfield ($111,703); Weathersfield ($24,433); West Windsor ($6,229); and Windsor ($49,441).