The Otsego County Board of Representatives changed recyclers Wednesday.

In two 13-to-one votes, members opted to cancel a three-year contract with Waste Recovery Enterprises of Sidney, then sign on with Hawkins & Hurlbut of Rome.

The nay vote each time was cast by Rep. Greg Relic, R-Unadilla.

WRE is being paid $77.50 per ton to handle recyclables. In addition, the county pays a $25 per ton fee at the Oneida Herkimer Solid Waste Authority for a total bill of $102.50.

Hawkins & Hurlbut will be paid $63 per ton at first and $58.95 per ton after the Oneida Herkimer materials recycling facility is retrofitted so that recyclables can be mingled, according to the resolution.

When the change in vendors is made in August, the county's total bill will be $88 per ton, a reduction of $14.50 per ton, which should help considerably by the end of the year, county senior planner Karen Sullivan said.

Last year, the program cost the county $323,588, she said.

As the resolution came to the floor, Rep. Donald Lindberg, R-Worcester, referred to the county's long-running battles with WRE, a hauler that hasn't always taken all its Otsego County garbage to MOSA.

"It's about time we got smart around here," he said.

The county must deliver a quota of garbage to the Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie Solid Waste Management Authority each year and can be penalized for falling short. In recent years, the county has fallen short, and county officials have pointed a finger at WRE for taking garbage to places where prices are cheaper than MOSA's rates.

Early Wednesday morning, WRE operator Denton Reed said he cannot fight the change because his contract with the county contains a 60-day cancellation clause.

"It bothers me, though," he said. "The county signs a 25-year contract with MOSA and has nothing but trouble, but they cancel me after five months."

Reed noted that some of his employees are county residents, depending on WRE for their jobs.

Hawkins & Hurlbut is looking forward to taking over the county's recycling program, Tom Hawkins Jr. said Tuesday.

"I think it's going to work out well," he said.

Also in contention was MOSA, but members of the Solid Waste & Environmental Affairs Committee opted for Hawkins & Hurlbut, which can be found on the Internet at www.hawkinsandhurlbut.com.

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