Cortland County Legislature Approves Contract to Privatize Recycling Center
Facing rising costs and falling tonnage Cortland County lawmakers have moved to fully privatize the County Recycling Center, they have approved a contract with Casella Waste Services to run the operation.
In a 17 to 1 vote with Republican Susan Briggs casting the lone no vote and Republican John Natoli absent, county lawmakers approved the lease with Casella to take over the Recycling Center.
In July, the county sent out requests for proposals from companies’ interested in taking over the recycling operations in a bid to stem the losses.
Casella was the only bidder, lawmakers were shocked when they determined it would actually cost the county $100 thousand dollars more a year to privatize the operation.
Through negotiations and fine-tuning the contract Casella was able to reduce the cost, in order to cut their expenses Casella is going to cut the hours of operation at the recycling center on Pendleton Street.
Under the terms of the agreement the county will pay Casella $124 thousand dollars a year to operate the facility, which is $50 thousand dollar more than the county is paying the current operator J-M Murray Center. Casella expects to pay the county at least $46 thousand dollars a year for the recycled materials that they take in and process.
Part of the contract also calls for the recycling center to go to a single stream format, which means all materials brought in can be commingled. Casella will transport the items to their processing center in Ontario County where the items will be sorted, bundled, and sold.
Lawmaker Kathy Arnold who voted against the contract in committee threw her support behind the plan last night. Arnold says without going to the single stream format the county risked losing recycled tonnage from SUNY Cortland, which accounts for 800 tons a year or about 30% of the materials received. Cortland Regional Medical Center is also going single stream as well.
For the past year the J-M Murray Center has been running the operation, utilizing the county’s equipment. The move reduced the county’s labor costs but expenses have continued to pile up as revenue form the operation has continued to drop.
Solid Waste Chair John Troy says this move keeps the county from making necessary costly investments in the sorting equipment at the facility, which is wearing out.