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A new revenue source for Saugus?

WIN Waste Innovations will offer an updated host agreement for Saugus at Town Hall meeting set for next week; Cogliano suggests it could help town pay for a West Side Fire Station

  Town officials strongly support a West Side Fire Station – something they’ve been seeking for decades. The problem has always come down to money: how the town can pay to build it and then staff it.

  But Board of Selectmen Chair Anthony Cogliano this week identified what he believes is a potential source of funding for making the much-talked-about third fire station a reality. “We will be working on forming a host community agreement that could fund some much needed projects within our Town,” Cogliano said in a statement to The Saugus Advocate, referring to upcoming negotiations with WIN Waste Innovations, owners of the trash-to-energy plant on Route 107.

  “Projects that are long overdue for the safety of our residents … such as a West Side Fire Station. I know the skeptics will never be satisfied, but the facility is here to stay and it’s time for Saugus to get its fair share. We have a long way to go in the process but we need to get moving,” Cogliano said.

  Representatives of WIN Waste are expected to unveil their proposal for a new host agreement at a meeting set for next Wednesday (July 27) at 7 p.m. in the second-floor auditorium at Town Hall. The meeting is being hosted by the Board of Health’s Landfill Subcommittee.

  “Representatives of the Company Win will be making a presentation to the committee regarding a path to the future,” Cogliano said. “The relationship between the BOH, BOS and WIN has never been better and that has come from working together, something I promised when I became Chairman of the Board in 2019,” he said.

  “I got back involved to make positive change and bring much needed revenue to our town. My motto has always been you get nowhere without trying and the Committee and I intend to do our very best to deliver something great to Saugus,” he said.

  No decision will be made by the subcommittee at Wednesday night’s meeting, but the public will be welcome to ask questions about WIN’s proposal, according to Cogliano. Subcommittee members are expected to hold another meeting at a later date to make recommendations to the Board of Health.

Company is ready to respond

  WIN officials welcome the opportunity to explain their proposal in a public meeting hosted by Saugus. Company officials are expected to share their views on what could be included in a new host agreement related to the operation of its trash-to-energy plant and the adjacent ash landfill on Route 107.

  “Nothing is more important to us than our partnerships with the communities we serve,” WIN Waste Innovations Vice President of Environment James Connolly said in a statement several weeks ago, commenting on the upcoming meeting.

  “We look forward to continuing our discussions with the Landfill Committee on ways in which the Town can maximize the benefits of our public-private partnership with Saugus,” Connolly said.

  Cogliano has been active recently on Saugus social media, alluding to a possible option Saugus has for funding the construction of a West Side Firehouse. This comment appeared on a Saugus Community Facebook page: “Does anyone know what’s going on with the West Side Firehouse? I know the town spent a lot of money doing a study and it was deemed to be needed So what’s the story with it! Tagging you Anthony Cogliano because you usually know the answers.”

  To that, Cogliano responded with this comment on the Facebook page: “It’s my top priority. A plan will be presented in the coming weeks that could and should deliver the much needed station.”

  The Saugus Firefighters Local 103 cited the dialogue on its Facebook page last Saturday (July 16), calling it “The closest thing to an update on the West Side firehouse we have.”

  Cogliano co-chairs the Landfill Subcommittee with Board of Health Chair William Heffernan. The Board of Health, at Cogliano’s insistence, created the subcommittee in late 2020 to promote a better working relationship with WIN (formerly Wheelabrator) on issues related to the incinerator and ash landfill.

Possible components of the agreement

  A main focus of the committee members over the past year has been the development of a new host agreement that addresses a wide range of health, safety, environmental and community issues. These are key issues that members want to see as part of the agreement:

  • All members agree health is most important, and company officials should verify they are doing all they can to make sure everyone is safe in Saugus and surrounding communities.
  • Committee would like to look into a program like Massport with Winthrop with the noise issue there.
  • Continued testing for the public safety, continue to work with the committee, striving as much as possible to have clean, quality air coming out of the stacks while lowering noise levels and testing what is in the ash. Water testing, especially around all three landfills
  • Co-Chair Cogliano wants to know about air quality monitors
  • Lower NOx (Nitrous oxide) levels without purchasing credits.
  • Keep upgrading facility to invest in it to make it more modern.
  • Plan Comprehensive Health Study, funding for air quality testing and small particle testing, funding for noise monitoring.
  • Construction of a third Fire Station to cover the west side of town.
  • Free tipping fees.
  • Striving for air quality for a better quality of life.
  • Create a subcommittee for closing of the ash landfill

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