T he Vermont-based company in negotiations to run the county’s five transfer stations received praise from local supervisors who toured some of the company’s facilities last month, but officials say it could still be awhile before the county is out of the trash business.
Last month, a group of Washington County Supervisors toured facilities operated by Earth Waste and Metal in Brandon and Middlebury, Vt., and were impressed with what they saw.
“Overall I thought it was a decent operation. They were clean and seemed to be run well,” said Granville Supervisor Matt Hicks.
Whitehall Supervisor George Armstrong echoed those sentiments.
“They looked live very good operations. They were clean and kept up,” Armstrong said.
Hampton Supervisor Dave O’Brien said the facilities appeared to be run more efficiently.
“I know the way they’ve been doing has been successful. Everything he does, he does more simply,” O’Brien said.
Kevin Elnicki, president of Earth Waste and Metal met with members of the Public Works Committee late last month to discuss his plans for the facilities.
Earth Waste and Metal specializes in building de-construction and material recycling. In a sense the facilities are run similar to a scrap yard. Instead of paying to get rid of an appliance, like you would at the county-owner transfer stations, you would receive money for valuable metals.
“I was impressed with his excitement. He’s had this five to ten year plan to get deeper into recycling and he said operating our facilities would advance that plan,” O’Brien said.
The company has taken over and operates five municipal transfer stations in Vermont.
Earlier this fall the county asked for companies that were interested in purchasing or operating the county’s transfer stations in Whitehall, Granville, Jackson, Greenwich and Kingsbury. Last month, after reviewing the initial bids, the board of supervisors agreed to open negotiations with the Rutland-based company.
The company submitted three separate proposals: a lease with an option to purchase; a lease; and a $1.7 million proposal to outright purchase the facilities.
But much like the sale of Pleasant Valley Infirmary, the sale of the county’s transfer stations is a complicated transaction and could take time.
The sale of some of the transfer stations may not include the entirety of each property and any sale would be subject to a thorough environmental assessment.
“It’s going to take quite a bit of work on both sides,” said George Armstrong.
If management of the transfer stations is transferred to Earth Waste and Metal all of the current services offered at the facilities will remain in place and it’s possible more could be added.
“He’s not going to downsize, if anything he may increase the volume going through them,” Armstrong said.
All three supervisors characterized Elnicki and the company as someone the county could work with and are in favor of continuing negotiations.
“I’ve learned the devil is in the details but he seems like he runs a tight ship,” O’Brien said.