Montgomery County tied up the final loose end of the soon to be dissolved MOSA agreement at a meeting of the Legislature Tuesday night.
Montgomery County’s new government took office in January with just four months to prepare for the April 30 end of the Montgomery Otsego Schoharie Solid Waste Authority’s 25-year service contract.
To avoid trash piling up on street corners, County Executive Matt Ossenfort said three things had to get ironed out before the end of MOSA.
Someone had to step up as the new caretaker of a few old landfills maxed out and covered over during MOSA’s 25-year lifespan. The county had to secure a new place to dump its 45,000 annual tons of garbage, then find someone to haul that trash and actually do the dumping.
The first two elements of the post-MOSA plan were handled in record time, according to Ossenfort.
Tuesday, the board voted to hire a private contractor to operate MOSA transfer stations in Amsterdam and Sprakers — collecting trash and hauling it away. Their move represents the last piece of the county’s post-MOSA plan.
“It feels good,” Ossenfort said.
The Legislature hired Onondaga County firm Gotta Do Contracting at a tipping rate of just under $72 a ton. It’s a three-year contract, he said, running the county just a little less than the current cost of disposing of trash through MOSA.
Originally, the county considered running area transfer stations in-house. Public Works Commissioner Paul Clayburn ran the numbers — calculating wages, machinery costs and a host of other factors involved with running transfer stations. He came up with a number very close to Gotta Do Contracting’s bid.
“It was pretty much the same ballpark,” Ossenfort said. “The decision was philosophical.”
The private sector, he said, distances the county from risk. If something went wrong at a transfer station, the county would be on the hook.
“Plus I think the legislators were nervous about setting up our own system in just a month,” he said.
The county may have turned to the private sector for the operation of transfer stations, but the rest of their new trash system will run at the county government level. Montgomery County employees will be caring for the closed down landfills left by MOSA in all three counties, with Schoharie and Otsego counties cutting landfill support checks.
All told, the three counties are saving in the neighborhood of $230,000 by handling the old landfills within the government.
All of Montgomery County’s trash will end up in Fulton County’s Mud Road landfill — an arrangement officials from both counties claim as a win-win situation.
Throughout the planning process, it wasn’t clear how much the new trash system would cost.
“When you’re going from the 100,000 tons MOSA hauled from three counties to just 45,000 from Montgomery County alone,” Ossenfort said, “it’s hard to reach the same economies of scale.”
Now, at the end of things, he said county residents will pay the same or slightly less to remove their trash come May 1. Legislation officially dissolving MOSA has passed the state Senate and Assembly and is awaiting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature. He is expected to sign before the April 30 end date.