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What you need to know for 05/30/2017

Sale of unused Saratoga County landfill to be finalized

Sale of unused Saratoga County landfill to be finalized

The deal to sell the unused Saratoga County landfill in Northumberland to a Glens Falls paper compan

The deal to sell the unused Saratoga County landfill in Northumberland to a Glens Falls paper company is scheduled to be completed later this week.

A real estate closing is scheduled for Friday that will transfer the landfill to Finch Paper of Glens Falls. The deal was approved by county supervisors last summer The county is expected to receive an immediate payment of $4 million, plus a cut of future revenue after Finch Paper opens the facility to accept paper mill sludge and municipal waste.

“This has been a long hard slog to get where we got,” said county Public Works Committee Chairwoman Jean Raymond, R-Edinburg. “It’s definitely a win-win.”

The county Board of Supervisors approved the sale to Finch Paper last June, after selecting Finch over two other bidders. Sales contract negotiations and finalization of numerous details has taken until now.

The sale of the landfill will provide the county and its towns with new revenue, officials said, as well as giving the paper mill — which has more than 600 employees — a long-term place to dispose of its sludge, a by-product of paper manufacturing.

Opening the landfill will require approval by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The landfill on Kobor Road has sat unused since its completion in 2000. Finch officials have said it will take at least a year of modernization work to get it up and running. The deal includes a building, pumps, and other equipment the county purchased for the landfill, as well as nine acres of constructed landfill space.

Since 1998, Finch has operated a landfill for sludge from the paper-making process on adjoining land, but that landfill is nearly full. The company wants to start using the county landfill, and eventually connect the two landfills together. Finch would also start accepting municipal waste, though only from Saratoga and adjoining counties.

The county landfill has sat unused since it was built in 2000, at a total cost of around $10 million. At the time the landfill was completed, legal questions surrounded municipal efforts to manage refuse, and the county decided to leave disposal to private haulers.

County leaders then decided in 2012, in the midst of a county fiscal crisis, to sell the landfill to generate revenue. “The private sector has shown a specialized ability to operate a facility like a landfill,” said Charlton Supervisor Alan R. Grattidge, chairman of the county’s landfill subcommittee. “We were also cognizant of protecting the 600 or so jobs at Finch.”

Finch will pay the county $4 million immediately, then $2 million more once the “valley fill” to unite the two landfills is approved by DEC.

When the landfill starts taking municipal waste, any tipping fee greater than $38 per ton will be split evenly between Finch Paper and the county. The landfill will be able to accept up to 275,000 tons per year.

The county share of tipping fees, which has been estimated at $1.7 million per year, includes $200,000 to be paid directly to Northumberland annually as a host-community benefit.

The remaining $1.5 million will be split evenly between the county and its towns, cities and villages. The municipal shares will be determined based on the existing county sales tax distribution formula.

The county Industrial Development Agency last week approved going to closing on the project, which it is helping finance.

Under an IDA payment in lieu of taxes arrangement, the landfill itself will be tax-free for the first five years, though Finch will pay taxes on the $262,000 land value of the 63 acres it is acquiring.

Finch will pay taxes on the full multimillion-dollar value of the landfill starting in the sixth year.

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