Hearing set on plan to sell Saratoga County’s unused landfill
SARATOGA COUNTY The public will get a chance to weigh in next month on Saratoga County’s plan to privatize the county landfill in Northumberland.
The county is looking to sell or lease the unused landfill to make money, and is considering proposals from three bidders. County officials believe the landfill will be worth millions of dollars, and have factored $4 million in revenue from the sale into their 2013 budget.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to set the hearing for 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, in the county boardroom in Ballston Spa. The hearing is a required part of the process for leasing or selling solid waste facilities.
The three proposals, which have remained secret during negotiations since they were received last winter, will be released for public review a week before the hearing. After the hearing, the subcommittee negotiating with bidders will make a recommendation on which should take over and then open the Northumberland landfill.
“Hopefully, if everything goes well, we will have a resolution in June to close the deal,” said Public Works Committee Chairwoman Jean Raymond, R-Edinburg.
The companies bidding for the landfill are Finch Paper of Glens Falls, which operates a paper mill sludge landfill next door to the county site; Casella Waste Management of Rutland, Vt., a major regional waste hauler; and Waste Connections Inc., a national waste handler based in The Woodlands, Texas.
The landfill on Kobor Road has been unused since the county built it in the late 1990s, at a cost of about $10 million.
Often, when municipal landfills are privatized, they are leased by the owner to a private company that then buries waste in them — the kind of arrangement Casella now has with the Clinton County Landfill. But Saratoga County officials believe an outright sale is possible in their case, because the landfill has never received any waste — so there’s no liability for materials previously buried in it.
Nine acres of landfill were built in 1998, with the understanding the facility could be expanded to as many as 23 acres in the future.
Also Tuesday, supervisors reiterated their support for having a full casino located at the Saratoga Casino and Raceway if voters agree to a constitutional amendment to legalize gambling in New York state in November.
The supervisors voted to back bills currently pending in the Senate and Assembly that would require communities with racinos to have the first shot at full casinos. The bills would also mandate that some casino revenue be steered to the horse racing industry.
“Our concern is to make sure racing remains viable if casinos are legalized,” said county Racing Committee Chairman Matthew Veitch, R-Saratoga Springs.