A state-owned garbage incinerator was supposed to close by July. But now that a potential deal with a private company to transform the site into a transfer station appears dead, leadership at the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority has approved a budget allowing the burn plant to operate for one more year. The quasi-public’s Hartford site, which annually burns hundreds of thousands of tons of garbage from nearly 50 towns, has been plagued with staffing shortages and mechanical failures in recent years. Hartford has signaled its intent to stop sending trash to MIRA, and other towns are considering opting out of their contracts. But the agency still needs to honor contractual obligations with dozens of towns to manage trash through 2027. And if the plant suddenly closes due to a catastrophic failure similar to one that happened in 2018, thousands of tons of garbage will suddenly have nowhere to go.