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What you need to know for 01/21/2017

Landfill proposals to be released before Saratoga County hearing

Landfill proposals to be released before Saratoga County hearing

Saratoga County supervisors will hold a public hearing May 15 on plans to privatize the county landf

Saratoga County supervisors will hold a public hearing May 15 on plans to privatize the county landfill — and they will be releasing details of what have been secret proposals from three bidders.

The hearing will take place at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, in the county boardroom in Ballston Spa. The proposals will be released for public review a week earlier.

After the hearing, the subcommittee negotiating with the bidders will make a final recommendation on which bidder should take over and 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 bidders are Finch Paper of Glens Falls, which operates a paper mill sludge landfill next to the county site; Casella Waste Management of Rutland, Vt.; and Waste Connections Inc., a national waste handler based in The Woodlands, Texas.

The three submitted proposals in October. The county has negotiated with all three while keeping their proposals secret, under a section of municipal law governing disposal of solid waste facilities.

“It allows a little bit different bidding process,” Raymond said. “You have the ability to go out and enhance the proposals in a way that’s in the best interests of the county.”

The landfill on Kobor Road in Northumberland has been unused since the county built it in the late 1990s, at a cost of about $10 million.

While it has never opened, county officials have termed the landfill a “safety net” against the possibility of higher costs being imposed on local commercial waste haulers at facilities outside the county.

An actual landfill was constructed on nine of the 23 acres where waste burial is allowed. The entire site has 113 acres, though 16 acres was recently sold to the county sewer district for construction of a new sewage treatment plant.

Officials decided last year to sell or lease the landfill to generate revenue, with county finances under duress because of the recession and ongoing multimillion-dollar losses at the county nursing home. A “placeholder” of $4 million in revenue from the sale or lease was included in the 2013 county budget.

Negotiations could potentially cover the timing and size of payments the county would receive, host community benefits for Northumberland and what revenue the county would be entitled to if an operator were to generate commercial energy by burning the landfill’s methane.

One condition county officials set is that “a majority” of waste buried in the landfill be collected from Saratoga or adjoining counties.

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