Legislators consider options for transfer stations after MOSA

FONDA – The Montgomery County Legislature has a clearer idea of what it wants to do in the next step of its dissolution from the Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie Solid Waste Management Authority.

The county is planning for the operation of its transfer stations and post-closure management of MOSA after the authority ends April 30.

On Monday, legislators created a resolution supporting an intermunicipal post-closure plan. Legislators also created a resolution supporting public-sector operation of the transfer stations.

The Legislature could vote on the two resolutions at a meeting next week.

Legislators met with County Executive Matt Ossenfort on Monday to discuss how to best handle the post-closure work.

Ossenfort said he was in Cooperstown on Thursday talking to officials from Schoharie and Otsego counties concerning post-closure management.

Ossenfort said he discussed a five-year agreement with the counties for intermunicipal post-closure work. Montgomery County would do the management work and the other two counties would pay an administrative fee to Montgomery County for the work. The county would work off of a $478,000 budget for the post-closure plan.

Ossenfort said an intermunicipal agreement would be the smartest plan for the county.

“By taking this approach we can save taxpayers well over $231,000 a year, rather than doing the post-closure work privately,” Ossenfort said.

Ossenfort also went over the pros and cons of going public or private sector for the operation of the transfer stations in the county.

If the county ran the transfer stations publicly, or on its own, the tipping fee would be $70.76 per ton. He said the county would have more control of everything, including the tipping fee itself and revenues.

However, the county would rely on the amount of garbage being generated for revenue.

“If we’re on the low side and don’t get the tonnage we expected then we might take a hit, but if we get more than we expected then it’ll be a good year,” he said.

Ossenfort also said there’s more uncertainty relating to personnel costs, and the county would assume more liability if the county runs the transfer stations.

If the county were to operate in the private sector, the tipping fee could be $69.54 per ton – but the price could be set differently depending on the contractor.

Ossenfort said the county is looking at Gotta Do Contracting of Jordan, Onondaga County, who sent in a Request for Proposal in February, for the private-sector work.

He said the benefits of going with the private sector mean the county would have a stable, clear picture of expenses moving forward.

“Because the timing is so close, I would lean towards the private sector because I feel like we’re opening ourselves up to risk with the potentially unknown personnel costs and the amount of time we have with a whole list of issues to tackle,” Ossenfort said.

Despite the resolution supporting public-sector operation of the transfer stations, legislators said the motion was not a direct reflection of their thoughts on the issue.

“This motion is basically just putting the resolution on the agenda so that we can vote on it next week,” District 4 Legislator Ryan Weitz said.

Legislators Roy Dimond, Weitz, Thomas Quackenbush, John “Duke” Duchessi and Alex Kuchis voted yes to the resolution. Legislators Martin Kelly and Joe Isabel voted no. Legislator Barbara Wheeler did not attend Monday’s meeting.