Indianapolis’ new Mayor, Joe Hogsett, has hit the ground running, as the old saying goes. He has recruited an impressive team of people who understand how a city works, many of whom bring deep backgrounds to their duties (Kathy Davis and Troy Riggs come immediately to mind, and they aren’t the only ones).
He has also reached out in a bipartisan fashion, both to Republican Councilors and to the departing Ballard Administration (of which Riggs was a part). But I was very pleased to see that courtesy to his predecessor has not trumped willingness to revisit some of that predecessor’s more unfortunate decisions. One of those–a contract with Covanta that locks the city in until 2028–is evidently getting a second look.
According to the IBJ,
Hogsett said the city will take the next 90 days to “reassess” plans for the facility, called an Advanced Recycling Center, which was planned for Covanta’s existing Indianapolis campus near its Harding Street trash incinerator. Hogsett said Covanta has offered assistance to the city in that process.
I’ve written before about the very real problems with the Ballard Administration’s “recycling” agreement with Covanta. I put recycling in quotes, because there is good reason to doubt that Covanta’s untested process would actually produce the promised results. The contract calls for use of a process known as “Dirty Recycling” that would allow residents to throw all their trash into one receptacle; actual separation is to occur at the Covanta facility.
This is a process that is simply not suitable for use in many industries that purchase recycled materials.
There are several other aspects of the contract that raise eyebrows, from the manner in which it was negotiated (without the legally-mandated bidding process), to its duration, to provisions that actually punish the city if recycling rates improve. (Covanta has used our trash to generate steam under an arrangement negotiated during the Hudnut Administration; recycling is most definitely not their real goal.)
The re-examination is welcome–and another indication of the competence of the new administration.