Finch Paper submits highest bid for Saratoga County landfill

Tuesday, May 7, 2013
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— Finch Paper is offering the most money of any of the private bidders for the Saratoga County landfill, proposals released Tuesday indicate.

The $39 million in estimated Finch Paper payments over a number of years tops $37.4 million in estimated payments from Capital Region Landfills and $9.5 million offered by New England Waste Services of New York.

The payments, in all cases, are a combination of up-front cash and payments to the county from tipping fess collected once the landfill is open.

“In all these scenarios, we get paid from their profit. It’s in their best interest to be successful,” said county Public Works Committee Chairwoman Jean Raymond, R-Edinburg,

County officials aren’t saying which proposal they prefer, pending a public hearing at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, at the county board meeting room in Ballston Spa.

“It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to get into it right now,” said Hans Arnold, a consultant to the county and former director of the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority.

The information released Tuesday offered the first details of bids the county has been negotiating confidentially since last October.

County officials are looking to sell the landfill on Kobor Road in Northumberland to ease financial strains on the county. Built for $10 million in 1998-1999, the landfill has never been used.

County officials began developing plans to sell the 113-acre facility, where nine acres of landfill cells have been built, in April 2012.

Each of the three proposals differs significantly from the others:

• Finch is looking to open the landfill to both municipal waste and paper mill sludge. The Glens Falls company already operates a paper sludge landfill immediately adjacent to the county site.

Finch would combine the two landfills, including filling the hollow space between them. “By combining the two landfills, you’re really operating one facility,” Arnold said.

• Capital Region Landfills is a subsidiary of Waste Connections of The Woodlands, Texas, which also owns the former Colonie town landfill.

Its payment estimate assumes it gets state Department of Environmental Conservation permission to significantly expand the landfill onto other lands, so it would eventually have 204.5 acres of usable waste disposal space.

Arnold said such an expansion would require additional engineering and environmental studies and a rigorous review by the DEC — much more so than the Finch plan.

• New England Waste Services, a division of Casella Resource Solutions of Rutland, Vt., would use the facility for organic composting and specialized wastes such as industrial sludge, contaminated soils and incinerator ash.

Arnold said Casella’s proposal could violate a county-set requirement that at least 51 percent of the waste in the landfill come from Saratoga and immediately surrounding counties.

Any of the proposals, he said, would cut down on the 1 million tons of waste each year now being shipped from the Capital Region to landfills in central or western New York.

 

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