Scarce trash to spark penalty

Montgomery County taxpayers will pay more than $171,000 to MOSA, the tri-county waste authority, bec
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Montgomery County taxpayers will pay more than $171,000 to MOSA, the tri-county waste authority, because trash haulers are taking their business to other transfer stations.

The loss of waste from Montgomery County is to be discussed during the authority’s meeting Thursday, and officials on Monday said the shortfall penalty for 2008 could well exceed the 2007 figure if the loss continues at its current rate.

The Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie solid waste management authority structures its operations and budget by projecting the amount of waste generated in the three counties and how much it costs to get rid of it.

The authority’s service agreement binding the three-county waste stream is structured so counties are responsible for the waste being directed to MOSA.

MOSA received 5,722 tons of waste from Montgomery County in the first two months of 2007. This year, the authority has seen 4,701 tons from the county, according to a compilation of deliveries.

That reduction is a decrease of more than 17 percent from last year.

Deliveries in Otsego County so far are at 5,730 tons, down 441 tons compared to last year, and Schoharie County deliveries are at 2,709 tons, an increase of 111 tons.

Excess tonnage beyond the annual estimate of required deliveries is typically added into the total for counties with a shortfall.

But the current trend suggests there may not be much help there this year, MOSA Executive Director Gil Chichester said Monday.

“The county has a shortfall, and there is [a systemwide] shortfall, meaning that even after the overage in the other two counties is factored in, Montgomery County still has a shortfall and that shortfall is significant,” Chichester said.

Chichester said he can only suspect that changes in ownership of local collection companies last year are behind the decline in deliveries.

The Clifton Park-based County Waste rubbish collection and recycling company typically doesn’t drop off garbage at MOSA transfer stations.

Last year, the company acquired Bruce E. Miller Refuse Service, Sunset Refuse Service and Hometown Refuse.

Those companies all delivered trash to MOSA prior to the change in ownership, and their historical deliveries are close to the tonnage totals that are missing, Chichester said.

Representatives from County Waste did not return calls Monday.

The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors in September 2007 commissioned an Albany law firm to study options for what Montgomery County will do with its garbage once the MOSA service agreement expires in 2014.

Amsterdam town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said Monday a report from the law firm has not yet been received.

DiMezza said one option to address the outflow of waste from the county is to implement a flow control law which would require haulers to deliver any Montgomery County waste to MOSA.

But DiMezza said doing so would require a lot of work and expense, including hiring someone to monitor where haulers bring Montgomery County garbage.

“We’d probably have to establish another department just to handle that,” DiMezza said.

Olga Podmajersky, a Montgomery County representative on the MOSA governing board, said she’s heard concern expressed by supervisors she’s spoken with about the loss of waste.

“It’s not an easy thing to handle,” Podmajersky said.

The MOSA board is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Thursday at the MOSA administrative offices in Howes Cave.

Categories: Schenectady County

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