NEWBURYPORT — The City Council will meet tonight to discuss a proposed agreement between the city and the owner of the Crow Lane landfill, but Mayor John Moak said he doesn't expect a vote to come tonight.
While the city was expecting the agreement to be completed early this week to give the councilors time to look at it before the meeting, wording issues are still being resolved by the attorneys, Moak said earlier this week.
"I haven't even seen the document yet," Moak said.
Tonight might be the first time councilors get a chance to look at it and discuss it. A vote will likely come in the future — perhaps at the regular council meeting on Monday or at a later session, the mayor said.
"It isn't the issues; it's the wording of the issues," Moak said.
Moak and the city's health agent, Jack Morris, will attend the meeting tonight to talk about the agreement and answer the councilors' questions.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers and is open to the public.
In June, councilors voted to reject a proposal from New Ventures to reopen the 2002 Host Community Agreement, saying it didn't have enough benefit for the city.
Under that proposal, in exchange for bringing in more volume, New Ventures would have released the city from some potential pollution liability, since the state has declared Crow Lane a contaminated, or a "21E," site, meaning all parties contributing to that contamination — including the city, which has used the landfill in the past — must share the cleanup costs.
Ward 5 Councilor Brian Derrivan, who represents the section of the city where the landfill is, said yesterday he has heard "bits and pieces" about the agreement but has not yet seen the full document.
Derrivan said he hopes the new proposal addresses those concerns raised by the council last summer but added that he didn't expect the mayor would be coming before them without having done so.
"I wouldn't imagine that we would be voting on it at that time (tonight)," Derrivan said.
The councilor believes it's time to get the situation moving forward to get it done.
"The more it sits unfinished, the more problems there are," he said, pointing to a cluster of complaints from abutters to the landfill in recent weeks about the smells. Walking the landfill earlier this week, Derrivan said he could detect odors.
"The tanks are probably full, and they need to be pumped," he said.
"Right now, there's no one there from New Ventures," Derrivan said. "There's no one there maintaining it."
Derrivan refuted claims circulating in the city that the city has reached a "secret deal" with New Ventures.
"That's just not the case," he said. "There's nothing secret about the City Council asking the mayor to renegotiate."