FULTON COUNTY -- Fulton County will be taking in more out-of-county garbage at its landfill in 2019 to make up for revenues lost when it stopped accepting solid waste from Montgomery County.
The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to raise the "ceiling limit" for garbage from outside the county from 35,000 tons in 2018 to 60,000 tons in 2019.
"We did this to make up a little bit of the difference from Montgomery County," said James Groff, chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
Fulton County withdrew from an inter-municipal agreement with Montgomery County in June that had allowed the neighboring county to use the "special low municipal" tipping fee rates established by contract signed in 2014. Those fees were $36.96 per ton in 2014 and 2015 and $37.95 per ton in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Over the course of the four-year agreement Montgomery County disposed of 202,206 tons of garbage in Fulton County, paying $7.6 million in tipping fees.
The original length of the contract was supposed to be 10 years, with an option for a five-year renewal, but Fulton County officials become concerned in 2017 that Montgomery County had been taking in garbage from other counties, charging those counties a $72.50 per-ton tipping fee, then disposing of the garbage at Fulton County's landfill and pocketing the difference between the tipping fees.
Fulton County normally charges much higher tipping fees for out-of-county waste. On Tuesday, the Fulton County Board of Supervisors voted to raise its out-of-county tipping fee from $60 per ton to $63 per ton for 2019 and raise its out-of-county contaminated soil fee from $25 to $27.
The board also approved resolutions for 2019 sewer sludge disposal contracts at a rate of $65 per ton for out-of-county municipalities, which include the town of Niskayuna and the villages of Canajoharie, Schoharie, Schuylerville and Richmondville.
Fulton County is suing Montgomery County for damages for bringing in out-of-county waste. Montgomery County said it will countersue. Montgomery County officials have said that Fulton County was always aware that Montgomery County was taking in outside waste and that was never considered a problem before 2017.
In its lawsuit, Fulton County alleges that Montgomery County's practice of taking in out-of-county waste and disposing of it in Fulton County cost "over 50,000 tons of Fulton County landfill capacity." Montgomery County alleges that it will incur $2 million in costs to take its garbage Seneca Meadows Landfill because Fulton County has pulled out of the contract.
"There are damages that were incurred to us by them bringing in the out-of-county waste," Fulton County Attorney Jason Brott said. "It's in the hands of our attorneys now (Miller, Mannix, Schachner and Hafner of Glens Falls). A summons and complaint has been filed. Montgomery County has asked for an extension to answer that complaint and file a counterclaim, and that's where we are right now, just waiting to see what they are going to do. They put out a news release [stating they were countersuing us), but they haven't followed through with that yet, so we're waiting to see."
The amount of garbage Montgomery County was transporting to Fulton County increased each of the years of the agreement: 35,536 tons in 2014; 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.