JOHNSTOWN - The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved a 10-year deal with Montgomery County to allow it to dispose its waste at the Fulton County Landfill.
Officials said the deal, effective immediately, expires Dec. 31, 2023, and Fulton County could realize at least $1 million per year in revenue, which will go back into the county Department of Solid Waste operation.
Montgomery County will pay Fulton County about $33 per ton and an additional fee of between 12 percent and 15 percent, according to the agreement. Montgomery County will end up paying about $38 per ton to deposit about 25,000 to 30,000 tons of garbage annually.
Fulton County Solid Waste Director Jeff Bouchard, standing, explains a new solid waste deal with Montgomery County to the Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday at the County Office Building in Johnstown
The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich
"Fulton County needs to stay proactive in looking for solutions in the solid waste industry," county Solid Waste Director Jeff Bouchard told Fulton County supervisors at a meeting Monday at the County Office Building.
Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan said the deal may help increase Fulton County's ability to produce more electricity from the landfill's methane gas.
"This looks to be, operationally, a good thing for us," he said.
Original permit applications to the state estimated Fulton County waste would be at the 100,000-ton-per-year level, but it has been averaging only 76,000 tons. Bouchard said Montgomery County's payments will help stabilize tipping fees for Fulton County and provide money for future landfill needs such as expansion projects, capping, post-closure care and equipment.
The Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie Solid Waste Management Authority's current arrangement with Montgomery County will end in April.
Gloversville 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael F. Gendron said then-Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman William Waldron last June was contacted by the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors with a request to begin waste-hauling discussions. Montgomery County formed a new government starting this year. It now has a legislature led by new Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort.
The landfill deal between the two counties is now final. The new Montgomery County Legislature on Feb. 4 unanimously endorsed the waste-disposal agreement.
"I'm very pleased and believe this is a sign of things to come," Ossenfort said today in a prepared statement. "Working together benefits not only the residents of both counties, but also strengthens the region as a whole."
Montgomery County Legislature Chairman Thomas Quackenbush said the agreement is mutually beneficial. He said Montgomery County's unanimous support "sent a message" to Fulton County.
"Fulton County obviously needs the extra garbage," he said. "It's a win-win for both."
Quackenbush said he hopes the waste deal sets the stage for more mutual cooperation between the two counties.
On Monday, Bouchard briefed the Fulton County board about the deal in a closed-door, executive session to discuss contractual matters, then emerged to give the public information.
The board voted 19-1 to approve the waste deal. The only no vote was cast by Johnstown Town Supervisor Nancy MacVean. The landfill is in her town on Mud Road.
"I hate to see the other counties filling up our landfill," MacVean said after the meeting.
Bouchard said the deal will help the Fulton County Landfill from an ecological and spacial standpoint. He said when the landfill opened in 1989, it was projected to have a site life of 75 years, and that life is 60 years at this point. He said there will be no significant traffic increases in Johnstown when trucks haul three 30-ton truck loads per day.
Last year, Bouchard said, the landfill used bulking and cover soils to balance the wet-dry proportions of incoming waste. He said these soils took up more than 52,000 cubic yards of space, contributed no revenue and resulted in a loss of "valuable" space. He said Montgomery County's waste will help reverse that trend by replacing soils.
"This is why the additional waste would be good for our county," he said.
Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery said he at first was "strongly opposed" to the deal, but changed his mind after getting more information. He said more revenue hopefully will translate into lower landfill tipping fees for Fulton County residents and businesses in future years.
According to the two-county contract, all Montgomery County waste must be dumped at the Fulton County Landfill or Montgomery County would have to pay damages equal to one-half of the tipping fees. Either party can terminate the agreement before 2023 with no less than 18 months' written notice to the other, subject to a $100,000 payment as damages for premature termination. The contract can be extended for two additional five-year periods by mutual consent.
Elizabeth Russo, of 302 Glebe St., Johnstown, was the only public speaker to discuss the agreement. She speculated whether it was "too good a deal" for Montgomery County. She wanted to know what Fulton County gets besides tipping fees. "Montgomery County has been unhappy with MOSA for years," she added.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.