T wo private Vermont companies have submitted bids to run Washington County’s transfer stations.
County officials opened bids from two Rutland-based companies, Earth, Waste and Metal and Casella Waste Management, to run the five stations.
Casella proposed to operate the facilities under a lease agreement, with the county retaining ownership.
Earth, Waste and Metal submitted three proposals: a lease with an option to purchase; a lease; and a proposal to outright purchase the facilities.
The town of Granville also submitted a proposal to purchase the Granville station for $5,000 and Greenwich submitted a proposal to purchase the station in Greenwich for $1,000. But neither town is expected to stand in the way of the other two proposals.
The county has been exploring the possibility of shedding the transfer stations for the last several months. Officials project the stations will run at a $600,000 deficit this year.
Although the county Board of Supervisors has not made a formal decision on how to proceed, there’s seems to be a general sentiment to get out of the transfer stations. The county’s 2013 budget didn’t include any funding for the stations and would instead allow them to run a reserve account, which has just enough balance to keep them operational for about a year.
Hampton Supervisor Dave O’Brien didn’t go as far as saying the stations should be sold, but did say they need to be run more efficiently.
“We need to control the cost of the transfer stations. We provide the service, but we need to provide it on a basis where the taxpayers aren’t paying for it at such a balance that we don’t lost money and make it a detriment to the taxpayers,” he said.
Casella’s proposal would see it lease the stations from the county for five years with five one-year options to renew. They would pay the county $41,700 per month to run the stations.
They would operate each station two days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and would staff the transfer stations with a combination of full and part-time employees. The proposal does not say if the company would retain the current employees.
The biggest changes would be a transition to zero-sort recycling and the elimination of the sticker program currently in use.
Earth Waste and Metal proposed a five-year lease with an option to purchase. The purchase option would kick in at the end of the lease term. The company would pay $569,712 the first year of the lease and $96,000 the following four years. At the end of the five-year period, the company would pay an additional $950,000 to purchase the stations.
They also proposed a simple lease in which they would pay the county $545,712 in year one and $72,000 in the subsequent four years.
The third proposal would see the company purchase the stations for $1,723,712.
Officials were expected to review the bids this week and could decide this month whether to proceed with the process.