Montgomery County poised to pay penalty to MOSA

A committee of Montgomery County supervisors agreed on Tuesday to amend the 2008 budget to cover the

A committee of Montgomery County supervisors agreed on Tuesday to amend the 2008 budget to cover the cost of a shortfall penalty due to the Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie solid waste management authority.

With the addition of a $925,000 appropriation, the county’s total cost for garbage this year will nearly double compared with last year and total approximately $2.4 million.

Discussion was brief on the topic Tuesday aside from an argument between two supervisors regarding a $500,000 line item placed in the budget earlier this year to cover tipping fees for building demolition.

County Treasurer Shawn Bowerman said the county is expected to exhaust an $800,000 budget line used to subsidize the cost haulers pay MOSA when they drop off garbage.

In addition, the county is expected to hand over $1.1 million for a shortfall penalty to MOSA.

MOSA member counties, according to the contract binding their waste streams to the authority, are required to pay MOSA the per-ton cost for the bulk of the estimated amount of garbage the counties produce.

In 2007, Montgomery County fell roughly 1,700 tons short of its garbage quota and paid nearly $180,000 in penalty. This year, the county is projected to fall short of its quota by 10,500 tons of garbage, which would yield a $1.1 million tab.

Supervisors have criticized the shortfall penalty because it pays MOSA for services that weren’t rendered — for garbage that was never dropped off.

Montgomery County attempted to pay only administrative costs for its shortfall bill earlier this year, but ultimately agreed to pay the entire bill after MOSA filed a lawsuit and attorneys told the county the MOSA service agreement, which contains the shortfall penalty provision, is legal and binding.

On top of the $1,725,000 which includes the shortfall penalty payment of $1.1 million and $800,000 for the subsidy, the county established a $500,000 fund to cover the cost of demolishing buildings.

That fund, however, became the source of contention between Amsterdam town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza and St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominick Stagliano.

The county hasn’t yet spent the $500,000 appropriated for demolition and an initial resolution sought to put that money toward the shortfall penalty.

But DiMezza said some of that money is expected to pay for the tipping fee for debris generated by the upcoming demolition of the Pioneer Street Mill in the town of Amsterdam. DiMezza also said the town is hoping that fund can also support the demolition work itself.

Stagliano said he doesn’t believe any of that money can go to the town of Amsterdam because the Pioneer Street Mill building is owned by the town of Amsterdam.

The county was unable to use money to make loans to villages after the 2006 floods because it’s against the law, Stagliano said. He said the same stands for the $500,000 fund sought for the demolition.

“I still contend that’s a grant of public funds,” Stagliano said.

DiMezza disagreed, and told Stagliano he had a recourse — sue the town.

“File an Article 78,” DiMezza said.

The issue over whether the $500,000 fund can be sent to the town of Amsterdam appeared unresolved late Tuesday.

Categories: Schenectady County

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