City council approves cost saving deal with Madison County

Madison County Dept.of Sanitation and Solid Waste Director James Zecca, Environmental Lawyer Bill Buchan
Madison County Dept.of Sanitation and Solid Waste Director James Zecca, Environmental Lawyer Bill Buchan

The Amsterdam Common Council unanimously approved a three-year deal negotiated by Mayor Ann Thane with Madison County, NY to transport and dispose of sludge material generated by the city’s sewer treatment plant. The deal could potentially save the city approximately $100,000 per year in fees.

Currently the city pays $89 per ton in transportation and disposal fees. Madison County will charge the city $66 per ton. According to Public Works General Foreman Ray Halgas, who was involved with the deal, the city generates an average of 4000 tons of waste per year. The contract allows for a maximum of 5500 tons of waste per year with no minimum requirement. The contract also allows the city time to research the cost of providing its own transportation. If the city transports the waste, Madison County would only charge $40 per ton.

Halgas said that all cost savings from the deal will be kept within the city’s sewer fund and could potentially be used to offset future user fees or purchase sewer related equipment.

According to information provided by Madison County officials who attended the meeting, the county operates a Landfill Gas to Energy Project which converts the methane gas released by their landfill to electricity. The county also has plans to develop an Agriculture and Renewable Energy Business Park that utilizes the electricity and heat generated by the landfill.

Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis, who was also involved with the deal, said that in addition to cost savings to the city, the deal may qualify as a “shared service” between municipalities and therefore help meet NY State’s conditions to issue rebate checks to taxpayers under the “property tax freeze” initiative.

“It’s sustainable energy, it’s a cooperation between municipalities, and its a huge savings for the City of Amsterdam. So we were excited to entertain this, ” said Thane.

“It benefits everyone and this is a good arrangement for both parties I believe,” said Madison County Department of Sanitation and Solid Waste Director James Zecca.

Transportation to the Madison County facility could begin as early as January 1st 2015. With council approval, the deal is now only contingent on the approval of the Madison County Board of Supervisors and the Department of Environmental Conservation.

(Photo by Tim Becker)

Tim Becker

Tim Becker is the owner of Anthem Websites Inc. which publishes The Compass. He serves as both editor and a writer.