A deal has been negotiated between Public Services and the Town Hall to remove a restriction on the use of the incinerator site which protects St Helier residents from paying for their rubbish to be disposed of.The JEP has learned that Public Services are so keen to lift the covenant on the site that they will pay £3.75m to the cash-strapped parish.The covenant would then be scrapped and Public Services could impose their so-called ‘gate fee’ at Bellozanne.
The deal – which has been negotiated on behalf of the parish by the Procureurs – is close to being finalised but will not be signed until, and if, the States back Environment and Public Services’ new waste management strategy.The committee has to find £60 million from somewhere to replace the incinerator in the next few years and is determined that the user-pays principle should apply.
The authorities’ view is that ratepayers are charged for their rubbish to be collected but not to be disposed of.The president, Deputy Maurice Dubras , confirmed that the deal with the parish was at an advanced stage but that there were still some ‘pieces of the puzzle’ to be put in place.’It’s being discussed and at the moment it’s put to one side,’ he said.
He said Finance and Economics were told formally about the deal at their meeting last week and it was likely that another six months would pass before it could be finalised.The windfall would be good news for Town Constable Simon Crowcroft as he struggles with the parish finances following last summer’s rates rebellion, which forced him to wield the axe at the Town Hall.
However, he says that if the deal is done he would not use the cheque to plug a short-term hole.’It would be a one-off windfall which would have to be invested wisely.
I would look at it as the parish’s own rainy day fund,’ he said.