Landfill accord sought

FONDA – The Montgomery County Legislature on Tuesday unanimously endorsed a proposed 10-year waste-disposal agreement with Fulton County.

Montgomery County wants to send its garbage to the Fulton County Landfill and pay $33 per ton and an additional fee of between 12 percent and 15 percent, according to the proposed agreement. Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort said the total would come to about $38 per ton.

Montgomery County is hoping Fulton County will sign off on the agreement at a Fulton County board meeting Monday, officials said.

Montgomery County is looking for a way to dispose of its garbage because its arrangement with the Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie Solid Waste Management Authority will end April 30.

Last January, Montgomery County was paying $69 per ton with MOSA.

Fulton County Department of Solid Waste Director Jeff Bouchard today declined to comment on the proposed agreement, pending Monday’s meeting. The Fulton County Board of Supervisors may consider approval of the plan at 1 p.m. Monday at the County Office Building in Johnstown.

Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Rick Argotsinger and Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael F. Gendron, chairman of the board’s Economic Development-Environment Committee, couldn’t be reached this morning for comment.

Bouchard said his department has out-of-county contracts with municipalities and commercial haulers. The prices are between $56 and $75 per ton of garbage.

The commercial rate is set at $56 per ton for what Bouchard said are “small haulers,” but the municipal rate for out-of-county waste can vary.

He said the county charges the town of Edinburg $56 per ton to deposit regular garbage at the landfill. He said Fulton County also has sludge contracts with several villages at $65 per ton: Canajoharie, Schoharie, Schuylerville, Richmondville, Niskayuna, Middleburgh and Rensselaer. He said the village of Waterford is charged $75 per ton for a small contract.

Bouchard said the Fulton County Department of Solid Waste also has a new rate category approved last year for out-of-county large loads. That rate is set at $40 per ton. He said Fulton County is trying to structure Montgomery County’s contract around that rate.

Since the Fulton County Landfill opened in the late 1980s, the Department of Solid Waste has taken in $14.8 million in revenue from out-of-county sources. A total of $927,156 was received for 2013, according to the department’s recently released annual report.

Ossenfort, who brought the agreement to his legislature for its endorsement, said the negotiations could be very beneficial to the county.

“The new agreement secures our waste disposal for 10 years and gives us time to develop our long-term solid waste strategy for the next 20, 30, 40 years,” Ossenfort said. “We need to start thinking about the future and this allows us time to do that. And also, hopefully, this will reduce cost as far as hauling because it’s less expensive to haul closer to home. We also feel this is a fair rate and hopefully allows us to lower some of our rates as we move forward with our transfer stations. We think this certainly sets us up for success in the short-term and long-term for waste in the county.”

Ossenfort also assured the Legislature the intermunicipal agreement would not involve a Guaranteed Annual Tonnage, unlike the MOSA agreement.

“[The GAT] was one of the biggest issues with MOSA over the years,” Ossenfort said. “There is no GAT in this agreement with Fulton County.”

The GAT was annually estimated by MOSA for each of the member counties, and it was used to determine the tipping fee or the charge levied upon a given quantity of waste received. Revenues generated by the tipping fee, when added to additional projected revenues, provide the source of funding for MOSA, according to MOSA’s annual report.

Through MOSA’s service agreement with the participating counties, each county accepted the responsibility to assure all solid waste generated within its boundaries was delivered to a MOSA facility. If the amount of GAT solid waste delivered to the authority was less than the aggregate GAT, the county responsible for the shortfall was required to pay MOSA a shortfall subsidy.

Shawn Bowerman, Montgomery County treasurer, said there were a couple years where the county’s GAT “far exceeded $1 million.”

Legislature Chairman Thomas Quackenbush said he thinks this agreement with Fulton County is the best option.

“I could not at this time consider going into another 25-year agreement with MOSA,” Quackenbush said. “The GAT was costing us millions and we no longer have that kind of money.”

Ossenfort said the next step is to wait for Fulton County’s decision, which he’s “very optimistic” about. Then the county needs to figure out what it’s going to do with the transfer stations.

He said the county would either look at an in-house operation or a private-public partnership for monitoring of transfer stations.

Ossenfort said he will send a request for proposal for the private-public partnership Friday. He said the RFP should be back by the middle of the month.