A consultant helping Saratoga County with the pending sale of its landfill will evaluate the county recycling program to see if it can become more efficient.
The county Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to hire Gerhardt LLC of New Hartford to conduct an evaluation of the program, while also helping to finalize the sale of the county landfill to Finch Paper.
The company’s principal, Hans Arnold, is a former director of the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority and has been working on aspects of the landfill sale for more than a year, making him familiar with the county’s efforts to manage solid waste.
“It just seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a hard look at the recycling program,” said county Public Works Committee Chairman Jean Raymond, R-Edinburg.
Collections at the county recycling centers have dropped in recent years, as private waste haulers have improved their recycling efforts and markets for materials have grown, increasing the price of recyclables.
“We’re going to see if there are efficiencies we could look at,” Raymond said. “We’re not going to go out of the recycling business.”
Gerhardt will be paid $9,675 under the contract, plus $100 per trip from his Utica-area office to Saratoga County.
The county recycling program has existed since 1989 but has seen declining collections since most private waste haulers began single-stream residential recycling pickup in recent years. The county hasn’t had a recycling coordinator since Joe Miranda retired in 2010.
The county recycling program costs about $1 million per year to operate but brings in only about $500,000 per year from sale of materials collected.
The county recycling centers are located in Corinth, Saratoga Springs, Moreau, Clifton Park and Milton. They accept newspapers and paper, bulk metal, metal cans and glass and plastic containers.
The contract also covers Arnold’s continued work on the pending sale of the unused county landfill in Northumberland to Finch Paper, the Glens Falls paper company.
The Board of Supervisors approved the sale in June, but $6 million in payments to the county are conditioned on the state Department of Environmental Conservation approving transfer of the county’s landfill operating permit to Finch and permit modifications so that the county landfill can be operated jointly with Finch Paper’s existing paper sludge landfill, which is next door.
Finch Paper Chief Financial Officer Robert Baron said Monday that he expects the permit transfer and the sale to close by December, though the permit modifications could take 12 to 18 months.
In other business, the board unanimously and without controversy approved the appointment of Deborah A. Oligny of Gansevoort as the new director of the county animal shelter in Milton.
The appointment of Oligny, a veterinary technician with a Cornell University animal science degree and nearly 30 years of experience, was in marked contrast to the controversy in March, when the board voted down the appointment of Christina Abele.
Abele, a 22-year-old recent college graduate whose family had Republican political connections in her hometown of Halfmoon, was criticized by shelter volunteers as too inexperienced to run the facility, though she had been a volunteer there.
Longtime shelter director Dan Butler retired in March. Oligny will earn $62,413 annually and will start work Aug. 2.