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County panel mulls MOSA reply

County panel mulls MOSA reply

Montgomery County supervisors will consider hiring a law firm to review the county’s agreement with

Montgomery County supervisors will consider hiring a law firm to review the county’s agreement with the tri-county waste authority MOSA.

Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Chairman Vito Greco called a special meeting for tonight to review resolutions related to the Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie Solid Waste Authority.

The county and MOSA are at odds over a $171,369 bill, toward which Montgomery County lawmakers resolved to pay only $69,621.

In response, the MOSA governing board decided to pursue a lawsuit.

MOSA is waiting for a bond counsel to review the service agreement, which spells out the shortfall penalty that sparked the bill.

The service agreement, a contract signed by the three MOSA members, calls for participants to each pay for most of the estimated tonnage generated in their county, even if that waste doesn’t make it to MOSA.

Haulers in Montgomery County are taking garbage to non-MOSA landfills to obtain a better price for dumping.

Greco on Monday said he doesn’t believe the county should be paying for waste that was never handled by MOSA.

“My contention is we are paying for services that are not rendered. Why pay haulers when we’re not hauling anything?” Greco said.

The board will review a resolution tonight to hire Green & Seifter Attorneys to “advise and consult with the board with respect to the 2007 shortfall of [guaranteed annual tonnage] deliveries at MOSA.”

“I want to get some legal advice,” Greco said.

The county in September 2007 hired the law firm to perform a study of the county’s options for getting rid of garbage once the MOSA service agreement expires in 2014.

No report has yet been delivered, but the law firm did send a general sketch outlining the ongoing study.

Montgomery County’s decision to pay only part of its bill from MOSA prompted bond rating agency Standard & Poor’s to place the county’s rating, currently at A-, on credit watch with a negative outlook.

Montgomery County Treasurer Shawn Bowerman on Monday said he does not believe the ongoing dispute with MOSA will lead to county taxpayers paying more for borrowing.

The county is gearing up to borrow about $7.5 million for roads, bridges and expansion of the Florida Business Park. Bowerman said plans are to issue bonds this fall.

“What it would do is it would affect our borrowing rates. To what extent, I don’t know. I honestly don’t think it will ever get to the point where we’re going to be downgraded for failing to pay this bill,” Bowerman said.

MOSA Executive Director Gil Chichester on Monday said an attorney this week is expected to begin the review sought by the MOSA board of the service agreement and whether counties have to pay their full shortfall penalty bills.

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