Washington County will cede control of its transfer stations to Earth, Waste & Metal a little earlier than expected.
County Administrator Kevin Hayes confirmed last week that the Rutland-based company will take over management of the five county transfer stations on Monday, April 22, which coincides with Earth Day.
The county Board of Supervisors approved the company’s $1.2 million lease-to-own agreement for the transfer stations last month. The agreement stipulated that Earth, Waste & Metal would begin managing the facilities no later than June 1 but that timetable was ramped up in recent weeks after both sides were able to tie up loose ends.
“It happened a little quicker than we thought, which is good for them with the busy season approaching,” Hayes said.
Keith Arlund, who was recently hired to manage the facilities, said Earth Waste & Metal will work closely with the county during the initial five to six week transition period.
Hayes said the county will retain five full-time transfer station employees (see attached side bar to learn more about the fate of the other employees) who will make up a “transition team.”
He said county residents, at least initially, will see very few changes.
“I’m confident county residents won’t see many differences and I believe they may actually see some improvements,” Hayes said. “I think they are going to take recycling to a level the county couldn’t and I think that’s a very positive thing.”
Arlund said the company will accept recyclables, including household appliances, for free.
“We want to encourage source separation,” he said.
The company will implement a weight-based payment system for trash that should roughly equate to what residents are currently paying to get rid of their garbage. Arlund said the company will invest in drive-on scales for trucks as well as smaller scales for individual bags of garbage and cash and eventually credit cards will be accepted at the facilities.
In the intern, Earth Waste & Metal will continue to accept stickers for a yet-to-be-determined period of time.
“We want to accommodate customers who show up with stickers,” Arlund said.
The county will repay the company $2.25 for each sticker.
The county’s transition team will be present at the transfer stations for the first five to six weeks following privatization and will provide a full refund of any transfer station stickers county residents may possess.
After that time, Hayes said residents can continue to redeem stickers at the county offices in Fort Edward.
Operating hours will also change. Arlund said the stations will open at 8 a.m., not 6:30 a.m. He said the stations will each remain open for two or three days a week but the number of days could expand if there is demand.
Under the terms of the agreement signed last month, Earth Waste & Metal will pay $5,000 a month to operate the transfer stations with 60 percent of the rent paid applied to the overall purchase price if the company buys the facilities in the first year. The percentage of rent applied to the final purchase price would decrease by ten percent in each subsequent year.
Officials said the county will save $29,000 a month when Earth Waste & Metal begins operating the facilities later this month.