Woonsocket, North Smithfield settle waste dispute

Woonsocket, North Smithfield settle waste dispute

WOONSOCKET – Two neighboring communities that for years have been at odds over a contract for waste services have come to an agreement.

Woonsocket City Council President Daniel Gendron and North Smithfield Town Council President John Beauregard issued a joint news release on Tuesday.

“The city of Woonsocket and the town of North Smithfield reached an amicable settlement to the unfortunate dispute between the communities over a wastewater inter-jurisdictional agreement," they said.

North Smithfield, along with Blackstone, Mass. and portions of Bellingham, Mass., have their wastewater treated at Woonsocket’s wastewater treatment facility and the inter-jurisdictional agreements govern the terms of the treatment. Due to recent facility upgrades, city officials say they required new agreements. Blackstone and Bellingham signed new agreements, however, North Smithfield refused, resulting in the issue being put before Rhode Island Superior Court Judge Richard Licht, who was set to take action on the matter in late April.

“After several years of disagreement that was sometimes the subject of unfortunate rhetoric, officials from both communities held a series of informal meetings that led to an agreement that settles all outstanding issues to the satisfaction of both communities, including those before the R.I. Superior Court,” the release said.

According to Gendron, the settlement reflects the good relationship that actually exists between Woonsocket and their neighbors in North Smithfield, saying that, after he and Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt met informally with Beauregard and North Smithfield’s Town Administrator Gary Ezovski, it became clear that the dispute was overblown and easily remedied.

The two councilmen said a second meeting, arranged by Woonsocket Public Works Director Steven D’Agostino, was held between Gendron, Woonsocket Councilman James Cournoyer, D’Agostino, Beauregard and North Smithfield Councilman Thomas McGee wherein the final details of the agreement were hammered out.

Beauregard said, “The agreement is fair and equitable to both sides, but more importantly demonstrates the solid and productive relationship that exists between the two neighbors."

Gendron said, “Councilmen Beauregard and McGee, along with Administrator Ezovski, brought a refreshing and pragmatic approach to the discussions that allowed us to get past an unfortunate chapter that was not reflective of the longstanding healthy relationship that exists between our communities.”

The settlement, in part, calls for North Smithfield to pay Woonsocket all amounts owed relative to the IJA’s Host Fee going back to fiscal year 2014, net of any amounts previously paid. In addition, Woonsocket agreed to waive all interest on the past due amounts, in conjunction with other mutual concessions to effectuate a fair and equitable settlement of all disputes including the pending litigation in R.I. Superior Court.

Gendron and Beauregard thanked the administrations and councils of both communities for coming together to finally resolve this issue so that all parties can move forward and direct their attention to more pressing matters.

Comments

Maybe now we can get the sewer project back on track! Seeing as it was abruptly stopped from the previous administration!

To quote from the article:

Woonsocket agreed to waive all interest on the past due amounts, in conjunction with other mutual concessions to effectuate a fair and equitable settlement of all disputes including the pending litigation in R.I. Superior Court.

If I, as a tax payer and service user in Woonsocket, would have been 2+ years in arrears, you can damn well bet the city would have been coming after me for interest and late fee payments!

Past due amounts on water and sewer bills is 18% per annum!!!!! How much would have that added to the NS past due amounts?

As a home owner, if you’re in arrears, the interest meter and late fees clock starts ticking immediately upon non-payment and late fees start to pile up! As a home owner tax payer, this is a major slap in the face by the city council, and an insult as a tax payer and service user moving forward!

And the current City Council claims fiscal responsibility?

Nice cave in City Council ….. where’s the fiscal accountability here?

The tax payers take the hit again!