DPW director: Proposed trash-hauling deal could save Wilton $100K annually

Wilton Director of Public Works and Facilities Chris Burney said that the town could save upwards of $90,000 annually with a proposed switch to Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority (HRRA) after its current waste management deal with City Carting & Recycling ends in July.

Wilton Director of Public Works and Facilities Chris Burney said that the town could save upwards of $90,000 annually with a proposed switch to Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority (HRRA) after its current waste management deal with City Carting & Recycling ends in July.

Stephanie Kim / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — A public hearing will be held this month on the town’s proposed eight-year deal with a new trash hauling company.

The proposed switch to Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority to handle the town’s waste management services through 2029 is estimated to save upwards of $100,000 annually, according to Director of the Department of Public Works Chris Burney and First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice.

The town is under contract with City Carting & Recycling through the end of July. Burney said the town has been paying more over the past year for the company’s services due to its contract and the recycling market.

“We went from getting paid money for recycling, at about $20 a ton, to then paying $67 a ton,” Burney said. “We are currently paying almost $97 a ton for waste. (With the proposed switch to HRRA), that would drop to just under $90. We are also paying $66 or $67 for recyclables, and that would drop to $10 a ton.”

During Monday’s meeting, Jennifer Heaton-Jones, executive director of HRRA, said the company serves 12 other nearby municipalities.

“There is a spot available in their franchise area,” Burney said. “Geographically, we are the perfect fit.”

Under the contract, Wilton representatives would also sit on the HRRA board of directors with the ability to cast seven votes out of 100.

Recyclables and waste would be taken to three regional transfer stations in Ridgefield, Newtown and Danbury. A fourth transfer station in Weston may also be used, according to Heaton-Jones.

All materials are then either sent to the Material Recovery Facility in Shelton or Wheelabrator Waste-to-Energy Plant in Bridgeport.

Heaton-Jones said she and an assistant run HRRA, which employs 55 registered haulers and has a fleet of 208 trucks.

“How does everything get done? And if you leave, who takes your place?” Selectman Ross Tartell asked. “If you step away, that is a hole that is a huge hole to fill. Take that into account.”

Vanderslice, who said she met with the executive director three times, praised Heaton-Jones’ commitment to waste management.

“We left one of those meetings saying ‘it is in her blood, it's her passion,’” Vanderslice said. “Jennifer is really passionate and she has led these (waste management) efforts statewide.”

A public hearing about the proposed contract is set for April 30 at 7 p.m.