The city of Amsterdam will start the 2014 year pondering what to do with the nearly 7,000 tons of garbage the city generates annually.
It’s unclear if the Montgomery-Otesgo-Schoharie Solid Waste Management Authority will cease operations in April, and there’s no direction yet on what Montgomery County will do. A completely new form of government — a county legislature and elected executive — takes over today.
The city could wait to see what will happen or start planning now, so the Common Council will review a resolution to seek its own trash collection services.
“We do have to be prepared, and four months is very little time,” Mayor Anne Thane said Tuesday.
Fifth Ward Alderman Richard Leggiero said there’s some hope Montgomery County government will devise a plan, but that’s uncertain.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed on that right now, we don’t really know what the county has got in store,” Leggiero said.
Ken Rose, director of the Montgomery County Economic Development Department, said in an email Tuesday his office has been working on solid waste plans for several months. The plans could be finished and available to outline for the new county Legislature in January or February, Rose said.
Estimates for how much the city spends disposing of trash through MOSA were not immediately available. The city employs a sanitation department that collects and hauls trash to the nearby MOSA transfer station on Route 5S, but if that arrangement ends, it will require the DPW to transport the trash a longer distance, adding time and more wear and tear to equipment, Leggiero said.
“If we can’t bring it to MOSA, than our expenses are all going to probably double,” he said.
A tentative MOSA dissolution date of April 30 would give the city only four months to receive and consider proposals from waste haulers, Alderman-elect Ronald Barone Jr. said.
“You’re under some time constraints here, and that’s the problem. There really isn’t much time for negotiating,” Barone said.
Though Otsego County has made it clear it wants to go in another direction, MOSA board Chairman Phil Skowfoe said he’s not convinced the authority will be done away with. Skowfoe, 2013 chairman of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, said he is seeking to meet with Montgomery County’s new leadership to see if there’s common ground.
He said he believes MOSA could still play a role in the regional wastestream.
“The only one that’s really pushing hard [for dissolving MOSA] is Otsego County. In my mind, I can not see how you can do it cheaper. I truly don’t see how they can do it cheaper than we’re doing it right now,” Skowfoe said.
“I truly would like to reach out to Montgomery County and see what they would really and truly want to do.”