County eyeing sale of transfer stations

W ashington County has agreed to open negotiations with Earth, Waste and Metal, one of two companies that bid to run its five transfer stations.

The Public Works Committee agreed last Wednesday to open negotiations with the Rutland, Vt.-based company by a 6-2 vote. Greenwich Supervisor Sara Idleman and Cambridge Supervisor William Watkins voted against the negotiations. Local supervisors Dana Haff (Hartford), Brian Campbell (Hebron) and Matt Hicks (Granville) all endorsed opening negotiations.

But county supervisors want to visit some of the company’s locations in Vermont before they sit down to begin negotiations.

“We want to see how they run their operations,” Whitehall Supervisor George Armstrong said at last week’s Whitehall Town Council meeting.

“We want to take a look so when they say their place is wonderful, we’ll know just how wonderful it is.”

The county asked last month for companies that were interested in purchasing or buying the five transfer stations in Kingsbury, Greenwich, Whitehall, Granville and Jackson.

Casella Waste Management proposed to operate the facilities under a lease agreement, with the county retaining ownership, while 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 company would pay $1,723,712 to purchase the five 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 town of Granville 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. Granville has since removed its offer.

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. The county’s 2013 budget doesn’t include any funding and would allow them to run on a reserve account with enough money for about one year of operation.

“It would be good for the county to get out of a business that we can’t run that well,” Armstrong said.

If the county divests itself of the transfer stations, it wouldn’t realize a savings until 2014, Armstrong said.

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