Press-Republican

September 18, 2013

Ticonderoga ponders trash issue

By LOHR McKINSTRY Press-Republican
Press-Republican

---- — TICONDEROGA — Ticonderoga officials are looking at privatizing the town’s trash transfer station to save money.

Requests for proposals from trash haulers have been issued, Ticonderoga Town Supervisor Debra Malaney said, but the returned proposals are still awaited.

“We are definitely looking into it,” Malaney said recently. “We’ll consider it, depending on what proposals we get. We absolutely have not made a decision. That would be a town board decision.”

LOSING MONEY

She said operation of the transfer station on Vineyard Road costs about $200,000 a year, and loses, on average, about $3,000 a year.

“Washington County has completely privatized all of their (trash transfer) facilities. They saved $600,000 a year for the county.”

The Washington County Board of Supervisors signed a five-year contract in March with Earth Waste and Metal of Rutland, Vt., to operate the county’s five transfer stations. It includes lease payments to the county of $5,000 a month.

Washington County had ownership of transfer stations around the county, while in Essex County, individual towns operate the facilities.

Some towns have already split from the Essex County system, which uses Serkil LLC to haul garbage to the Franklin County Regional Landfill.

SAVINGS PROBED

Malaney said Putnam Town Supervisor John LaPointe in Washington County contacted her and suggested Ticonderoga take a look at privatizing its transfer station.

“Our thought was there’s nothing wrong with privatizing a department while offering the same service or better at the same or reduced cost to the taxpayer. It would save departmental costs.”

The transfer station has three full-time employees, who would either move to other town departments or go to work for the new operator, she said.

CONTRACT IN PLACE

Even if the town wanted to privatize, it can’t do it until next year because of existing trash contracts, Malaney said.

“We’re under the Essex County contract. That expires in fall 2014. The issue will be coming up next year.”

Once the proposals to operate the transfer station come in, they’ll look at them and determine how to proceed, the supervisor said.

“The trend for municipalities is privatizing, getting out of the garbage business. We’re looking at leasing the transfer station or keeping what we have and downsizing to make it come out even, so it will not operate at a loss.”

Some towns are paid for recyclables and metal deposited at transfer stations, and they’ll also look at that, she said.

“It’s the town’s responsibility to look at all opportunities for tax savings. It’s one option we’re looking into, especially with the new budget season. We have to wait and find out how the numbers shake out.

“It (privatization) could still provide great service to the community.”

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com