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Montgomery County mulls over Mud Road landfill

Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - Updated: 8:24 PM

By HEATHER NELLIS

For the C-S-E

JOHNSTOWN -- Montgomery County might be hauling its garbage to Fulton County’s Mud Road landfill in the near future.

In light of the impending dissolution of the Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie Solid Waste Management Authority, Montgomery County is negotiating a contract with Fulton County so it has somewhere to take its trash.

A Fulton County panel reviewed final contract terms in executive session Tuesday. 

Supervisors adjourned the session without taking action on a resolution authorizing Chairman Richard Argotsinger to sign the contract. 

However, Argotsinger said he expects the resolution will reappear before the committee. He would not comment further.

But Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort is confident the partnership will come to fruition, and soon.

“We are at the end stages of making this agreement a reality. This is a big step forward regarding the counties working together,” Ossenfort said.

Though he’s not at liberty to discuss the terms of the agreement just yet, Ossenfort said the goal of the intermunicipal plan is to provide long-term stability for waste disposal costs.

“It’s about making it a better value for taxpayers, and that’s the critical component,” Ossenfort said. “When you have two counties that are close together working together on an issue, there are a host of benefits.”

At Fulton County’s committee meeting Tuesday, Solid Waste Department Director Jeffrey Bouchard reviewed his annual report from last year’s operations. He said 14 percent of waste was collected from out-of-county users, in part from existing intermunicipal contracts with other counties.

After the meeting, Bouchard said the 24-year-old facility could operate under existing regulations for another 60 years.

Considering the executive and legislators have been in office less than a month, Ossenfort is proud they could quickly chart a course for life after MOSA.

“I have spent more time on solid waste than any other issue since taking office,” Ossenfort said.

“It’s been a collaboration,” he continued, also giving credit to county employees such as Public Works Department Commissioner Paul Clayburn and Economic Development and Planning Department Director Ken Rose. 

“One of the messages I want to see come out of this is we’re all working together to solve these issues. I can’t wait until more comes out about the agreement to show the work we’ve done,” Ossenfort said.

Though a contract with Fulton County appears to be on the horizon, Ossenfort pointed out waste disposal is just one step.

Montgomery, Otsego and Schoharie counties are working together on post-closure agreements, Ossenfort said. Internally, work is under way to create a department to manage the county’s transfer stations. 

“Our goal is to ensure services are not interrupted, and hopefully it’s cheaper,” Ossenfort said.

     

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