With Schoharie County finally coming to terms with the idea that MOSA —the Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie Solid Waste Management Authority — will be finally be thrown onto the trash heap of local history, the three counties involved are left with one big question.
What do we do with all our garbage now?
“We have agreed in principle to offering joint legislation for home rule authority, which would ultimately dissolve MOSA,” Otsego County Rep. Linda Rowinski, D-Oneonta, said late last month.
The MOSA agreement binding the three counties in the authority expires April 30. Otsego County, in particular, has long chafed under the conditions and cost engendered by the alliance and has been seeking an exit for several years.
Schoharie, meanwhile, was just fine with the way the regional trash authority was operating, but finally relented under pressure from Otsego and Mongomery officials regarding how MOSA’s assets would ultimately be divvied up.
“They didn’t give us any option,” Phil Skowfoe, chairman of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors, told The Daily Star. “They held us hostage on the division of the assets.”
Regarding the end of MOSA, we are more than fine with that. If you’ll forgive us for saying so, it’s a case of “good riddance to bad rubbish.”
However, with each county being well aware of the inevitability of MOSA’s demise, we are astounded that there isn’t a plan ready about hauling all that trash away come May 1.
Skowfoe said Schoharie County will just now begin to make plans.
“We haven’t done any planning yet because MOSA has worked so well for us over the years,” he said.
He’s kidding, right?
And Otsego is little better off. For some years, it has retained engineer Hans Arnold to help plan for the new non-MOSA reality, but with its cumbersome county-board operation lacking a county manager, things often go agonizingly slowly when it comes to making important decisions.
“Each county has to figure out the post-MOSA world,” Arnold said recently. “The expiration of the service agreement always sounded like a long way away. Now, all of a sudden, it’s right around the corner. At that point there is no backstop for MOSA.”
Yes, surprise! April 30 is less than seven months away. That’s virtually tomorrow.
Otsego County officials have discussed forming a public-private partnership to operate the two transfer stations within the county, but, Arnold said, no decision has been made on whether the county will have any role in its management. He said it looks like the board is “split 50-50” on whether to have the county directly involved in waste management.
Gee, who in each county could have seen this coming?