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Local News

September 25, 2013

Counties agree to pull plug on MOSA

(Continued)

He characterized the dissatisfaction expressed with MOSA by Otsego and Montgomery officials as “a lot of sour groups based on past practices, when MOSA wasn’t as efficient as it is now.”

Despite his raw feelings, Skowfoe said he is not going to abandon the idea of working in partnership again with the other counties.

“You can’t stay bitter,” he said.

Hans Arnold, an engineer Otsego County has retained in recent years to help it plan for its expected exit from MOSA, said “each county has to figure out the post-MOSA world.”

“The expiration of the service agreement always sounded like a long way away,” Arnold said. “Now, all of a sudden, it’s right around the corner. At that point there is no backstop for MOSA.”

While Otsego County officials have discussed forming a public-private partnership to operate the two transfer stations within the county, Arnold said no decision has been made on whether the county will have any role in its management. Arnold said he senses the Otsego County board is “split 50-50” on whether to have the county directly involved in waste management.

He said the county could continue to operate recycling programs while letting a private contractor take over the transfer stations. There will also have to be discussions on where the waste would finally end up, Arnold noted.

Otsego County Rep. Donald Lindberg, R-Worcester, questioned the county’s strategy of completely divorcing itself from MOSA, arguing more thought should have been given to the possibility of extending ties with MOSA without renewing the service agreement.

He also said he would be very leery of having the county involved in overseeing the transfer stations or trash management in general.

“It’ll be another nursing home,” said Lindberg, referencing the deficit-plagued, county-operated Otsego Manor, the 174-bed home now being marketed to private health care facility operators.

The state Legislature authorized Otsego County to leave MOSA last year, but the exit has been delayed by disagreements over the appraisal of the MOSA real estate assets.

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