MONTGOMERY COUNTY -- The Montgomery County Legislature has approved a one-year deal with Seneca Meadows Landfill to dispose of the county's garbage at a tipping fee rate of $27.81 per ton.
District 9 Legislator Robert Purtell said the deal was necessary for short-term solution.
"I certainly think we need to do some future planning for solid waste. It's not going to get easier," he said. "We need to have some discussions about what we're going to do in the future."
Morgan Frisch, Montgomery County's information specialist, said the county will also incur transportation costs to haul the garbage from the county's transfer stations to Seneca Meadows Landfill, which is roughly 160 miles away. Frisch said official estimates on the per-ton cost for both transportation and disposal were not available Tuesday.
Montgomery County has been disposing of its garbage at Seneca Meadows on a temporary basis since June, when Fulton County stopped allowing Montgomery County to use its landfill.
The two counties signed a 10-year intermunicipal agreement in 2014 that allowed Montgomery County to use a "special low municipal" tipping rate at Fulton County's landfill, but Fulton County withdrew from the deal, arguing Montgomery County was making money by taking in garbage from outside counties. Montgomery County was charging those counties a $72.50 tipping fee at its transfer stations, then hauling that garbage to Fulton County where the tipping fee was $36.96 per ton in 2014 and 2015 and $37.95 per ton in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Since 2014, Montgomery County disposed of 202,206 tons of garbage in Fulton County at a cost of $7.6 million. Garbage from Montgomery County increased each of the four years of the agreement, starting with 35,536 tons in 2014, then 48,049 in 2015, 46,695 in 2016 and 53,044 in 2017. From January to May of 2018, there were 18,880 tons of garbage hauled from Montgomery County to Fulton County.
Fulton County officials have alleged Montgomery County realized a $2 million "profit" on the difference between the two tipping fee rates, and they cited that as their reason for withdrawing from the deal. Montgomery County has said the revenues generated by the gap between the two tipping fees was used to pay for the operation and upkeep of Montgomery County's garbage transfer stations.
Montgomery County has counter-sued Fulton County for ending the 10-year deal early, alleging $2 million in damages, including increased transportation costs for hauling the garbage to Seneca Meadows.
Fulton County Attorney Jason Brott did not return phone calls seeking comment on the litigation between the two counties.