SOLID WASTE TASK FORCE
Monday, February 14, 2022 - 11:00 AM
Joe Pete Wilson, Chairperson
Chairman Wilson called this Solid Waste Task Force meeting to order at 11:46 am with the following members in attendance: Derek Doty, Ken Hughes, Jim Monty, Ike Tyler, Joe Pete Wilson, Davina Winemiller, Meg Wood, Mike Mascarenas and Jim Dougan. Steve McNally was absent.
Also Present: Todd Hodgson, Hugh Harwood and Dina Garvey.
WILSON: Thank you for coming today, this is an important one and weíre on a bit of tight timeline with our contract with Serkil, as well. So, weíre going to have to keep this going on multiple levels, one is the big picture of what weíre doing, two is the short term what are we doing with our hauling contract with Serkil and then in the most immediate short term we have some grant money to talk about. So, maybe Iíll let Todd jump right in. Toddís got some information that will help us tackle those issues and the most urgent first and now that weíre getting going, to really keep meeting more regularly. I let us get off to a slow start, but weíll have to keep meeting and making decisions, so that we can be ready for our short term goal of a Serkil contract, deciding about that. So, Iíll turn things over to Todd.
HODGSON: Okay, from the decisions that Joe Pete and I had early on, as he took charge of this committee, it became apparent that just having a general understanding of what Essex County solid waste is and what it isnít. So, let me just run through that real quick before we get to the agenda that Joe Pete and I discussed previously. This is a diagram of what Essex County solid waste looks like, from the legend, I donít have a pointer on me, but Lake Placid is a major or North Elba, I should say, is a major transfer site by a big arrow, meaning that is receives trash from St. Armand and Wilmington, itís compacted there and goes directly to Franklin County. That is a major site. The same can be said of Lewis/Elizabethtown station and Schroon, down there at the bottom. The other sites that exist, that I guess are one tier down from that, would be Chesterfield, where they compact and go directly to Franklin County. Ticonderoga goes directly to Franklin County and Moriah goes directly to Franklin County and then we have some secondary sites. The Town of Keene is one of those, the Town of Keeneís trash goes to the Elizabethtown/Lewis station. They have a small compactor and we have, letís see.
DOUGAN: Essex/Willsboro is the same.
HODGSON: Yes, that one is the same.
DOUGAN: With a small compactor that goes to Lewis.
HODGSON: Crown Point used to have a setup. The Xs are those that basically, either donít exist or are closed. Those towns donít have anything. So, Crown Point at one time had an operation, that one is now closed. But, it really is a transportation system that is contracted out and these are the hours of operation for each town and just notice that there isnít an Essex County transfer station in that list, just to point that out. Thereís an annual, for 2021, for each town for the tons collected and the recyclables collected as a whole. So, you can see, what isnít reflected in, say Schroonís number is the Minerva and NewcombÖ
DOUGAN: North Hudson
HODGSON: Yeah, North Hudson, that would also be added to that number that is trucked out of that site, which you can kind of see in comparison where the solid waste tonnage is for each of the towns.
HUGHES: Todd, thereís a modification that needs to be made. I see Essex says Monday through Friday, but thatís not accurate.
HUGHES: Should I just email you?
HUGHES: Okay, great
MASCARENAS: Todd, the C&D on there has Essex, is that because thatís the only place you can, it has Elizabethtown/Lewis, is that the only place that you record it? Because, most of those sites take C&D.
DOUGAN: Yeah, some of them do and weíve got another slide thatís going to show what each station does. But, the C&D is actually a contract each town has with Serkil and does not come through the Countyís billing, so the total and basically each town that does handle C&D, they have a set rate that they pay Serkil for, per dumpster, itís not tons. So, the tons donít get fully weighted, until they go out of, until they come into the Lewis Transfer Station.
MASCARENAS: So, thereís additional C&D that isnít being captured?
DOUGAN: Nope, the numbers that you see are the numbers that are reported to NYS DEC. So, that is the total tons of C&D that are there, but because Iím not part of the accounting system or the tracking of Moriah.
MASCARENAS: Yeah, they get a lot.
DOUGAN: Moriah gets quite a bit of C&D, but they contracted, basically directly with Serkil. Thatís, weíre highlighting some of the issues with this contract.
DOUGAN: They contract directly with Serkil with a set rate per dumpster and then it gets picked up and so I can go back through. I would have to go to Serkilís bills that go directly to Moriah to see how many dumpsters were picked up, but I still wonít know the tons.
MASCARENAS: Gotcha, sure.
DOUGAN: Other than Serkil many have those records, but Iím not necessarily privy to them, because thatís a contract between them and Moriah.
MASCARENAS: Sure, understood.
MONTY: Which is being hauled by our equipment though, right?
DOUGAN: It is, it is and itís for a town, but it is all being hauled through our equipment and because itís not subject to going through our accounting system, the equipment replacement plan that we put in place a few years ago, those dollars that are per ton arenít subject to that either. That C&D isnít subject to that, follow me? Sorry Todd.
HODGSON: Thatís okay, I mean these are all details of how this functions.
DOTY: I am sure that it will probably add to the problem, but we have our own cell in North Elba, but weíre within two years of being maxed out. So, I hate to add to your list, but soon weíre going to have to deal with it.†
MASCARENAS: Thatís what we do.
HODGSON: So, a little bit more detail. Some of these facilities have scales and those facilities that have scales are part of the County system, Iíll call it. So, for instance, the Lewis stationÖ
DOUGAN: Can I interrupt you? Truck scales
HODGSON: Truck scales, yes, not bag scales.
DOUGAN: Not bag scales, truck scales.
HODGSON: So, those scales exist at those sites, because itís part of the county system.
MONTY: But not for our transfer station.
DOUGAN: Yeah, your transfer station is separate.
MONTY: Itís separate, we have no scales.
HODGSON: So, they exist at the Elizabethtown/Lewis site. They also exist at North Elba and they exist also in Schroon Lake, because of how the system is orchestrated. So, as we take the look at the contract with Serkil, those are some of the things that we need to keep in mind of how the infrastructure was put together.
Also, from this, of interest, just the list of compactor, what they are, small, large, or none in some cases. Most towns manage their own metal, itís not a part of Serkil and the contract that we have with them. Some have recycling through the County, some do not. So, you get the picture that although each town belonging in Essex County, each town is very different. Each town is very different, it has different challenges, has different needs, different emphasis on recycling, different things that they accept. So, the County has a, just a management system thatís in the background.
TYLER: I just want to throw something out, too. Each town is very different and I donít know what kind of deal was cut, back in the day, for Westport to get their transfer station put in Elizabethtown, number one and number two, itís so unsafe. Weíve had multiple accidents there, just a couple of years ago a man fell and died. So, I would love to get that transfer station, with some help from the County, please, because it was done by the County to begin with, moved back into Westport, so we donít have to pay taxes on it, number one and number two, put in a much safer one in where people donít have to walk upstairs and throw their garbage in and put their recyclables away, because, I would dare to say we have 15-20 accidents in our site a year and one person died from it and so I would like to see some help from the County to move ours back to the Town of Westport. We have property by DPW, I mean itís one of my concerns for a long time and I donít know what else has to happen for something to change. Every time I approach somebody about it, well, itís the townís issue. Well, it is the Townís issue, but itís the Countyís issue when they cut the deal to put it in Etown to begin with and that is where they built it, so help.
WILSON: Ike, I think youíre hitting on one of the most difficult things that weíre going to have to address, is how the towns do things and what each town wants, versus if weíre going to have a system that addresses what Jimís talking about, the expense of a contract, dealing with how much equipment is involved and how to pay for it. Weíre going to, this Committee is going to struggle with that balance of how do we, you know, continue to personalize that schedule of everybodyís got their own operation. Weíre going to have some hard discussions about what is the town going to have to pay for? What does the County pay for? And then how we run them and thatís going to be a hard one. You know when we talked about this a few years ago, about scales, who pays for the scales? You know weíre going to have toÖ
TYLER: Thatís the problem youíre going to have to figure out when deals were cut in the past and for each town, where some people got some and other people didnít, as far as that goes and the infrastructure of the waste. We get this trailer in Westport, I donít know how in hell it can still be used, I really donít, itís just filled with holes; you wouldnít even see that in a dump somewhere.
WILSON: Thatís part of our charge, is how are we going to resolve these questions, so that this can be sustained with the changes weíre going to face in more demand to pull out compostable materials, more demand to recycle and we lose revenue when we do that. So, weíre going to struggle with just what youíre saying, I think. How do we balance what each town wants, versus what we can afford as a system?
MONTY: And youíve got to remember, youíre talking County equipment with not County employees running, so something gets thrown in a compactor that shouldnít be in a compactor. The trailer gets damaged, the compactor gets damaged, because of negligence on the employee working there and it ends up being the Countyís responsibility to fix that negligence. I mean thereís so many factors to consider. I would like to figure out a way I get 12 calls a week as to when my landfill stationís open when itís pretty easy if you go to Lewis, but the Essex County says, Lewis Transfer Station on it. So, everybody calls, a dozen times a week we get calls and weíre going to bring some C&D at 2:00. No, youíre not, because we donít take C&D. well, it says on your website, but those are logistics and stuff.
DOUGAN: And I think weíre going to, if weíre really going to tackle solid waste and not just Serkilís contract or not just this or that, weíve got to kind of rip the Band-Aid off on all those discussions, Ike.
DOUGAN: This system was done a long time ago; I know that Schroon wants changes in the way that theirs is set up. In the middle of summer, they get Newcomb and Minervaís trash that has been compacted and has been sitting there for two weeks and itís 95į and it comes and it automatically smells. I get that, those discussions were put in place by people before this Board, years ago, that whole infrastructure. Where youíre located, how she accepts it and weíre going to have to kind of rip the Band-Aid off and have some almost fist to cuff type discussions here, if weíre going to fix this. So, Todd is going to have a few more statements in this that are probably going to maybe rival everybody up, but thatís my way of doing it.
GILLILLAND: The other issue, too, is one that weíre facing with the abuse recyclables.
DOUGAN: And it is on our list and we may want to get the point that we have to ask to just discuss that.†
GILLILLAND: Well, thatís ongoing.
DOUGAN: We may have to discuss that without it being on tape, because of the potential, pending lawsuit.
HODGSON: So, just quickly, contract operations is, itís unlike any other division of DPW. Itís in DPW, but Essex County doesnít run any transfer station or have any hours of operation. The contract services are provided through Essex County, but all those services are contracted out and run by County equipment, which has been said here. Essex County solid waste has no employees, manpower, budget or operations, essentially Essex County solid waste does not exist as a division. Thatís kind of a controversial statement, because, well Joe Pete can say, I kind of volunteered to take on some of this to try to help, because I know Iíve work a little bit with yourself and am certainly willing to come to your transfer station to start documenting some of the issues that exist, because thatís the only way that weíre going be able to unravel this. We have a contract that right now, if you put it back out, weíre putting it back out with the same equipment, the same system, and going to make some of the same mistakes that we have currently. So, Iím interested in having this have a solution.
TYLER: When is that contract up?
HODGSON: Well, right now I think itís the end of the year.†
WILSON: And we have to have either a new contract or withdraw by June. So, when I say we have a short-term goal, this Committee, weíve got to make some discussions about Serkil in the next few months, you know to either limp along or change things dramatically, but itís a tight timeline.
HUGHES: Can we get a copy of that contract?
DOUGAN: You certainly can.
HUGHES: I donít know if Iíve ever seen. It would probably for this committee, if weíre going to be looking at over the next couple of months and making a decision, it would be nice.
WINEMILLER: Can you just scan though?
DOUGAN: Oh, yeah, itís already out there and I can scan it.
WILSON: Just whatís the date on it, off the top of, because that was part of ourÖ
DOUGAN: This contract, this one is dated 2019 which was a renewal of a 2014.
HUGHES: Not super old, but worthy of review.
MONTY: I think we, did we extend it two years while we reviewed it?
DOUGAN: We did extend it to where we are now.
MASCARENAS: Toddís last statement is absolutely the case. At one point in time, Essex County Solid Waste did exist as a division, I donít know if youíre going to go into that?
HODGSON: No, not this time.
MASCARENAS: Okay, so I will not take up any more time, but just so people are aware of that. It hasnít been, Iíve been here 23 years and it hasnít been since Iíve been here, but those people did exist and we did. The State deal is what put an end to that.
DOUGAN: The State deal kind of put an end to that.
WILSON: Around landfill closures?
MASCARENAS: Yes, absolutely.
DOUGAN: Around landfill closures and because Mike brought it up Iím going to just give a touch more detail to that is that did end it, plus there was a certain amount of money that came from the State that bought most of this equipment then; okay?
DOUGAN: More than 20 years ago most of the equipment was bought. Those of you that have been on the Board for a few years, about 3 years ago I came to the Board with a replacement plan and itís not replacing everything at once and we are making strides and the Board at that time put some money into equipment replacements that probably should have been put in place long prior to that and weíre trying to work out of that some of these things.
MASCARENAS: A system that started 30 years ago, essentially, that amount that the State gave the County was somewhat self-sufficient; right? The amount paid for the system, that amount hasnít changed in that time; right? So, as the cost of everything continues to escalate that amount that weíve been getting from the State when away, has now come back, well, it helps, it still meets the needs of the original deal.
WILSON: Yeah, itís just a drop in the bucket. So, I think that some of the issues that weíre going to face as towns is, this is going to cost money, one way or the other. Either the County is going to be picking up the bill or weíre going to continue to pick up the bill, itís going to cost money. Weíve got to decide how weíre going to, where that moneyís going to go, whoís going to pay? Itís going to cost money, this is getting more expensive, not less and the work Iíve done with Todd, you know, weíve, the Town of Keene to address safety issues, to address contamination of recycling. We bought our own shipping container just for cardboard. Weíre piloting using a Smartsheet to track our recycling with Serkil so we really know whatís going on. Weíre investing in this and itís pointing out to me that to accomplish the changes youíre talking about itís going to cost our residents money, itís how are we going to organize that so itís the most cost effective and we can balance our town control with the efficiency and profitability of the system or profitability is the wrong word, self-sustaining finances for the system.
WINEMILLER: In lieu of that I just want to talk about something that I have talked to Todd about recently and I know that this is long term, this isnít short term, but long term I would like to see a facility in Essex County that uses the solid waste as fuel, that recycles tin and sells it as sheets, that recycles plastic and sells it and you know the glass, whatever, compost. You know we could have a composting facility and actually sell the bagged compost and I know that this is going to take a lot of money and time and it doesnít help us right this quick second, but I do think that we need to be pro-active and look at this thing long term and we could actual turn our solid waste into something amazing for our County and not just a problem.
DOUGAN: So, weíll get to talk about the grant that we have right now and that plays into long term plans, such as that.
DOUGAN: Yours is amazing, your vision there, but it is something that we can work toward and will probably come out of this grant or when Todd gets the words of what that grantís supposed to do, we can talk about some of that.
GILLILLAND: You need to go down to the Casella Facility, down in southern Vermont and actually walk in and see what kind of operation that is and when you see that thing and the cost of actually doing that, your mindís going to change.
WINEMILLER: I understand.
GILLILLAND: I recommend that you go do that as the first chapter and they will give you a tour, their solid waste engineers will run it all through and you can see it. Doing what youíre discussing there is very expensive and itís very, very labor intensive.
WINEMILLER: But, maybe we could partner with them, Shaun. Itís not that far.
GILLILLAND: You mean partner with Casella?
WINEMILLER: Yeah, itís not that far away.
GILLILLAND: I think Keene, you a few years ago, you guys looked into using Casella and stuff. Theyíre a for profit business and thatís all they do.
WINEMILLER: But, Iím just saying if they have a facility thatís already run in a way thatís sustainable, you know maybe we should look at that.
GILLILLAND: But, weíre not in the business in of trying to make money like a solid waste company like Casella is.
WINEMILLER: Right, Iím not saying to.
GILLILLAND: I would just recommend all members, everybody go down there, maybe we should organize a tour, so you can see whatís involved in it.
WILSON: But, one thought though that I am taking from what youíre saying, in a more general principal is, as Iíve talked with Jim and Todd about this, I think an important aspect of what we design is we have to be designing a system that responds to changes in recycling regulations and recycling markets. If we design something thatís rigid like the system that we have now, here comes composting along and what are we going to do? You know weíre going to lose like 30% of the revenue we generate going over the scales, because the composting material isnít going into the trash stream anymore. Instead of collecting money to dispose of it, weíre going to be paying money to compost it. So, weíve got to design a system that can respond to changes in regulations in the recycling market and how that looks, I donít know, but thatís got to be a key thing, because we canít predict, you know nobody when we set up the system we have now predicted how much we would, revenue that we would be losing to recycling and then when the Chinese stopped buying materials and the bottom fell out of our revenue, you know weíve got to be able to respond to stuff like that. So, thatís the point, the most immediate point I take from what youíre saying.
WINEMILLER: And a question, as far as what you just mentioned, where do our plastics go? So, we #1 and #2 and I donít know if Serkil has informed you all, they only informed me, because I called them with a question. On January 14th they told me they stopped taking #3 - #7, theyíre only doing #1 and #2 and I said, well were you going to let us all or you know? So, because I made that call I know, I donít know if you know. I donít know if anybody knows, but where are they going?
HODGSON: So, there is a good amount of material that is thrown out.
WINEMILLER: Itís thrown out?
HODGSON: Yup, itís in the garbage and goes as a cost back to the County system. Thatís what happens.
WINEMILLER: So, weíre recycling plastics to throw them away.
DOUGAN: In all honestly, if you go to Casellaís, youíll find the same thing, but this contract done in 2014 gives all recycling to Serkil. We play a very, very small role in it and then if they generate revenue, good for them. If they decide itís cheaper for them to throw it out, oh well, we kind of donít care, other than theyíre supposed to dispose of it properly; which is what the other issue that we might talk about here, today. So, an issue with this contract, okay and if youíre going to have a very strict thing on more levels of recycling it will cost you more in the future, similar to having Casella there. When he had Casella, it was Zero Sort; right? It cost you a lot of money, but we all know, because we know some people that have worked at Casella, many of those things that come back to them as recycled by somebody still go out as garbage. They still handle it as garbage.
MASCARENAS: Well the profit margin is what Shaun eluded to.
WILSON: So, Davina youíre talking about an issue thatís market driven and I tell you the best resource that I found for a neutral opinion is the North Elba employee, Shannon Porter who runs their recycling and in terms of tour, what Shaun recommended and going to see Shannon, because we talked about that. They do the utmost to try and recycle to protect the environment and recoup revenue and they bale themselves, then store it until the market is strong and theyíve had to put stuff back into trash, because thereís no market and they run out of storage space. So, thatís market driven and thatís what I mean by weíve got to be able to respond to this stuff, but I would encourage you to talk to Shannon, just to see how the nuts and bolts of it work, because I had those same questions and then I realized thatís not in our control. So, then if weíre going to design a system, how are we going to deal with market forces like that that effect the, you know, the bottom line of our town operations, our county operations, whatever itís going to be. Weíve got to keep that in mind as weíre setting up our next contract and building new facilities. How are we going to respond to market, you know whatís the best thing? To farm it out? To do it ourselves? A blend and I donít know the answer to that.
WINEMILLER: Iím sorry, Iím just, Iím trying to wrap my brain around this and I know Iím kind of getting a little bit off track here, so I do apologize to everyone, but that frustrates me like I canít even express right now.
WILSON: You know, letís talk and Iíll share with you my experience. I did two trips with Board members and did you come to North Elba, once? But, letís talk afterwards, so I can share that with you.
HODGSON: The goal of this discussion is to channel that frustration.
WINEMILLER: Thank you
DOUGAN: Toddís only part way through his presentation, but heís got a second one, because we know thereís a lot of issues. Thereís a lot to discuss here and weíre going to get down to about three topics that we want to just focus on today and everything else fits into those, if we can. I appreciate the energy that everybody has here, because itís going to take that for us, I mean itís been broken in a way, itís been broke for a long time and we want to fix it.
MONTY: And thereís a lot of factors, 100 factors. I mean you and I have had the conversation how many times about the independents that come there. The independents, Serkil doesnít really supervise them then they come here, they go down over the scales, but youíve got recycling thatís thrown in there. I mean how many times have I told you, Iíve seen them come down and throw 1s in the 2s and you go and look over and half is 1s, which they separate and Essex County gets billed for it, because they take it and throw it in the compactor and so thereís so many mitigating factors by having them there.
HODGSON: That problem that you just went over works just like this; the contractor operates the transfer station alongside of the Town of Lewis, not required or run by Essex County, roughly 2,000 tons are processed with Essex County equipment with no offsetting costs back to Essex County for preparing or doing anything. So, we have a rough figure of what that is that they run their business doing that with our equipment. Essex County Purchasing, they do the billing for this system and they actually were responsible for the budget prior to 2018. Jim has since taken over some of the budget responsibilities, mainly because of equipment replacements and other things that needed to happen in the system and because of system complaints and just real quick, Town of North Elba, this is the best in Essex County and at least a decent role model to play. If you look at the recycling, itís very clear what they do and what they donít do and this is Essex County, that is the back of the recycling trailer, they typically look about like that.
WINEMILLER: That could be our trailer any given day and people complain about it all the time and itís incredibly difficult to manage, because people go in there and they throw and itís just a mess.
HODGSON: You canít navigate between the doors that are in there, things are generally not very well sorted out, thereís intention, but it doesnít work that way.
So, okay, that was supposed to be, just a what it is, but so weíre going to get rid of that one.
DOUGAN: How many employees to you have, Derek, do you know?
DOTY: Shannon has six, I think weíre down one right now, it should be seven. Sheís on the phone all week long, every week to find and justify markets.
HODGSON: Yes, thatís what it takes.
WILSON: And you also have great support from the highway department in terms of equipment to handle stuff.
DOTY: Itís a husband/wife deal.
WILSON: Exactly, but having that already budgeted support makes your recycling operation more affordable, because you donít need to own a giant loader, because they can send one over.
DOTY: Yes, but we do have dedicated machinery.
WILSON: Oh, yeah, yeah, but not quite as much.
DOTY: And the landfill carries itself for us, at this point.
HODGSON: Yes, yes
WOOD: Todd, can you send that to us?
WOOD: Okay, thank you.
DOUGAN: Just to follow-up on that one statement, because I just canít help myself, my sorry. This is an enterprise fund for the County, which means itís supposed to pay for itself; okay? Itís supposed to pay for itself. Last year, 2021, the interfund transfer was $916,000.00 to this enterprise fund. So, the closest thing most of you have to an enterprise fund is your water and sewer, special districts; right? Theyíre only supposed to be paid by the people who use them, so this enterprise is only supposed to be paid by the people who use it, so this enterprise is only supposed to be paid by the people who use it. So, $916,000.00, the County put in last year, not including paying for our own trash that we generate, as a business; okay? $916,000.00, roughly 12,000 tons was done up there.
WINEMILLER: Thatís ridiculous.
DOUGAN: That would be $76.00 a ton that we would have to raise the price to cover that. So, just to, you know and this isnít anywhere near the level of service that you brought up, Davina. So, thatís just putting numbers where numbers are.
WILSON: Thatís helpful.
HODGSON: Okay, I need three things from you guys today, so just in case I get distracted, again.
So, this is just a list of some issues and tasks and we are going to add to this. So, I need that feedback from Ike, from other Supervisors that have issues at their stations. We need to compile a list, because we need to make sure that weíre working for solving at least some of those issues moving forward, but for today, Task One; we need something to identify needs, establish goals and create a mission and this is some thoughts that Joe Pete and myself have been back and forth on a few things, but I think itís important that we have at least some goal stated, because in the background I want to go back to that to make sure that the things I am working on are pushing that goal. So, if we could get some thoughts on that, it doesnít have to be today, but I really would like to have that feedback, so that we know what weíre shooting for.
WINEMILLER: You want an email, Todd, is that youíre asking?
HODGSON: That would be fine. You can email Joe Pete, you could email me.
TYLER: Facility ordinated questions or this is for the county?
WINEMILLER: The towns?
TYLER: The major goal right now is get the contract situated.
DOUGAN: Thatís one goal, but I think, I guess I better step back on a couple of things. Whatís the difference in some of the towns? Todd told you the difference in equipment, but Newcomb and Minerva, they donít charge their residents when they come in, per bag, itís all on their taxes because they have so much State land. So, they turn it all into the State as part of their general fund taxes. So, they donít have an issue with revenue, they cover it, unlike many of the rest of you, not a big deal.
HODGSON: And if you look at it, their trash is more than double the Town of Schroonís, because of that.
DOUGAN: Because, of that, you know, so Todd showed a picture there of one of the trailers what was a good example of a relatively bad one. Weíve got pictures of relatively good ones; okay, with places that take more trash than that one does, more recyclables than that one does, it comes down to an attendant. Again, when I said weíre going to have to rip the Band-Aid off, weíve got to all talk about our own role in this. Some of it is County and some of it is each town and some towns arenít going to be as invested if the Stateís already paying a big portion of it. Derekís got recycling under control, C&Dís coming, I didnít even know C&D was coming and was going to be a problem before long.
DOTY: Only because we canít dig another cell, weíre maxed out.
DOUGAN: Absolutely, understood. So, I want your issues, both from a County, from a service standpoint and your station itself, Ike. I want both. I want to hear complaints and I want to know what they are so I can solve this permanently; okay? Thatís where we want to go with this.
WILSON: Because, I canít help but think that weíre going to have to have more uniformity of operations. A lot more uniformity of operations and itís going to, again, be a balancing act, too, for smaller towns or like Minerva/Newcomb that are such an outliner, but you know to get these things under control so we can manage them for the next 5-10 years weíre going to have to agree on some operational things that have been left to the towns in the past.
MONTY: I think weíre going to need to manage it a lot longer than 5-10 years, weíve got to get the foundation built, so it can be managedÖ
MONTY: For 25 years or 50 years and if we keep bandaiding it, I donít think.
TYLER: With the problems that the systems has nowÖ
LEWIS: I voted no when they wanted to put it in Lewis anyway.
DOTY: Todd, in order for any of the towns to move ahead with the 3 questions, is it safe to assume legislature is going to take food waste out?
HODGSON: These are things that weíre going to have to deal with in the future.
WILSON: Itís already a law, the regulations are going to be rolling out.
DOTY: I mean revenue is going down, we know our costs are going up.
GILLILLAND: The other thing you have, too, I was told and I canít remember who told me this, they expect another five years on the Franklin Landfill.
WOOD: And then itís Pennsylvania?
GILLILLAND: We donít know where itís going after that. Thatís one of the impetus for us is to reduce the tonnage thatís actually going to the landfill.
DOUGAN: Our contract with them ends on 2024, with Franklin County and I have heard that theyíre getting pretty full and that so when they get full their issue will become ours.
WILSON: And thatís why I think we were talking about, you know a system that responds to the demands of new regulations, we have control over costs and staffing and equipment, if we have to adapt to that, you know if weíve got to truck farther.
TYLER: Itís frustrating that weíre sitting here with all these problems and itís all been a State mandated problems, basically.
MONTY: Think about everything that goes on in Government.
TYLER: Weíve got to work to fix their problem.
WINEMILLER: Well, part of it is, how do you, I understand that youíre supposed to be composting, thatís a law; right?
WILSON: It isnít hitting our sized facilities, yet.
WINEMILLER: Right, but Iím just saying, are we supposed to be tearing open their trash to see if they threw their coffee grounds in there. How do you police that? How do you even police recycling?† You know, if they bring in black garbage bags it could be full of recycling, how are we supposed to do this?
TYLER: Enforcing, thatís an Albany thing that they mandate all this stuff, but then they sayÖ
WINEMILLER: Figure it out.
MONTY: Frankly, Iím not going to ask my attendants to go through peopleís garbage.
WINEMILLER: Thank you, me either. Me either.
MONTY: Not going to happen.
WILSON: But, if we make a system thatís relatively easy to recycle and saves you money.
WISON: But, if youíre still scaling your trash, so itís costs you, one of the big reasons we got rid of zero sort, people loved it, because it was easy, you just fling a bag in, but 40% of it was trash that wasnít going over our scales, so we were losing revenue because it wasnít going over the scale and then we were paying for contaminated zero sort. It was over $2,000.00 a month we were losing just on zero sort and in a teeny operation, thatís huge. So, but to get back on track, Todd.
MASCARENAS: Can I ask one question and I apologize, something that would help me a lot, and we probably donít know this number and maybe we could get, we have a couple private haulers in our County, what kind of trash are they handling? So, when we speak about cost and you speak about people that are paying for a system and arenít using it, thereís a large number of our constituency that are absolutely are paying another source to get rid of their garbage.
WOOD: And theyíre paying a lot.
MASCARENAS: And paying for a system that theyíre not using. So, how much garbage are they taking out of our system and I know the reasons why; I can tell you personally, itís affordable for me to do it. I have a private hauler. Itís about the same cost as if I were to take to my thing, the difference is they come to my house and I donít have to spend a Saturday doing such.
WILSON: And if they haul directly to Franklin County and dump it, we donít get any revenue and weíre losing potential scaling. Thatís where having a solid waste district where all solid waste generated in our county would have to be disposed of here, so at least it would go over our scales.
HODGSON: So, let me just say this, we need to have an email, so that these issues can be logged into there and so that I can end up with creating that mission statement. I donít know if, Joe Pete, I donít know if you want all that go to you or whether we just have like a designated site or something that we can put that information in.
DOUGAN: Why donít, theyíve been asked to email this, so email this and then have everybody respond to that email.
HODGSON: So, that way we canÖ
MONTY: Then youíll have the individual emails.
HODGSON: Okay, so thatís Task One. Task Two; this is the grant award to Essex County, actually thereís one mistake here, on the grant award, itís the grant and then it says award, that award is actually a match. Itís a $20,000.00 match that is carried, actually, in DPWís budget, Jim carried that in the budget that was passed. So, itís a total of $40,000.00. Now, what is this $40,000.00 able to be used for? It is specifically for an engineering study. This specifically is aimed out a local government efficiency. So, that is the charter according to the application that has already been submitted and we received the award. This is the current description here. Itís a shared services to reduce the cost to the taxpayer, specifically to explore things like food waste, recycling, composting, some of the very things, Davina, that you brought up are in this description. So, thatís going to require a bunch of assistance, probably for whoever is the consultant on this job, thatís going to require the assistance of your towns, because of the data that you guys have and the data that Essex County specifically has, scale data. So, we have a little bit of data collection to assist whoever the consultant is and that is the identified need. So, as youíre looking through this presentation, please read this aspect of it. This is what itís aimed at. So, this is the deliverable to Essex County to try and help us and how this is a small seed or a program that gets much better. That program has millions of dollars available to assist us to get there. So, these are the first steps to getting to a much bigger program.
WILSON: So, this is the entryway for us for the long term stuff. I donít think we talked about the timeline in this, probably isnít going to help us with the Serkil decision though, just because of the timeline for a consultant to do this right. So, weíll be kind of on our own in the short term with Serkil, but for the long term this will help and it gets us in the door for future LGE and MERF and all these other grant programs that it can help us with.
MASCARENAS: The program we use for EMS.
MASCARENAS: So, just for Supervisors that have been here for a while that was in the first step in that application.
DOTY: So, could Todd or Joe clarify for me, the equipment was bought and owned, the tractor trailers, the containers, the scales, compactors, thatís owned by Essex County?
HODGSON: Thatís correct.
DOTY: If Serkil is taken out of the contract, canít you buy some time and we start hauling?
DOUGAN: We can.
MONTY: Well, that means hiring.
DOTY: Well, hiring.
MONTY: Youíve got to get more employees.
DOTY: Well, exactly.
TYLER: Good luck with that one.
HODGSON: That would be a rough Monday, but we would get through it.
WILSON: And maybe some of those Serkil employees would want to work for the County.
DOTY: Of course, Iím just looking for an extension, because the timeline you guys, is impossible.
WINEMILLER: It is.
DOTY: Along with that, you mentioned maybe millions are available to help get set up. So, bio-digesters will become something thatís feasible?
HODGSON: So, this is, we address this now in this report and that gives us the direction.
DOTY: Okay, I get it.
MASCARENAS: I got one approved, years ago, bio-digester through Cleaner Greener.
DOTY: We have a design ready.
MASCARENAS: It was for you, you were supposed to get it.
DOTY: Yeah, we came up $200,000.00 short and in todayís market thatís a Band-Aid. We worked 5 years to put that program together.
HODGSON: So, this is the schedule for the grant. So, we have to actually act pretty quickly. Thereís a grant agreement, execution that is in March, next month. So, we need to go out to RFP very quickly, from what I need from this Task Force, I need the listed partners, we are going to need to revise that list of partners. So, thereís going to be three towns that participate and participation looks something like this; some data gathering, something like a Smartsheet for instance; which has been the mechanism that the Town of Keene and the County have worked on to create communication with our contracted hauler, the County and the Town. So, I donít want to put words on your mouth on how well itís worked or not, but it was a start.
WILSON: Yeah, so as a step that the Town of Keene took to managing our recycling hauling, Todd and you helped us set up a Smartsheet, itís mobile, so our facilities manager can just put in a request for the glass container to be hauled, the cardboard, the recycling trailer and we know when itís submitted, when it was responded to and then we can enter in the tonnage from each type of material or when there was a problem. I can remember when there was poor maintenance of it, was the cardboard baler and you know, if gives us good documentation about when Serkil is, has problem and it has worked well and our attendant and our manager both really like it.
TYLER: I just want to throw out there. Weíve been, I see these grants for this stuff all the time, we participate in them and we got $100,000.00 in Westport for a thing, for an engineering firm who didnít do shit. They didnít do anything. They came and we threw some numbers and they got $100,000.00 for doing, we didnít know anymore before they started than after. So, how are we going to know is this is going to do anything?
HODGSON: I think itís because, you know, the CountyísÖ
DOUGAN: Todd and I have left that engineering firm.
TYLER: I am serious, these people get these grant monies and they donít do anything with them.
GILLILLAND: But, you got that study and put it in the package to get the rest of the money from the State.
WILSON: And I think though thatÖ
TYLER: I understand that Shaun, but that was the problem with when we got, we were supposed to get more money, because they were supposed to come up with a plan and didnít.
GILLILLAND: The same thing happened to me with I and I.
WILSON: But, I would say though, with the sense of urgency we have, the impending doom for each of our operations and the County operations, like Iím not going to spend this money and let them give us some, you know, canned report, because this is too important to me.
MASCARENAS: And I think that anybody that comes to us is going to run out of the door, not wanting the job. But, I look at to Todd, I look to Hugh as experts. I think sometimes at the town level it gets difficult, because you were contracting with that expert and theyíre supposed to be guiding the process and sometimes that doesnít work out in your best interest. I think having a staff of engineering here at the County that can ask those questions from a professional level, I mean often you had to be sitting at the table as the Planner, who everything I learned from engineering was through osmosis and I would pick up on sometimes, but in order to really get to the heart of what needs to happen to need your own experts and I think we have them. Do they have the ability to do it all on their own with their current workload? No, but do they have the ability to guide a process in some firm that supposed to be? I think they do, not to say that we donít get crap, but I think weíre in a better position to guide it than a town is with the resources that we have in place, as opposed to a community.
WILSON: And itís a mandatory step, as Shaun said, weíve got to do this or weíre closing the door on all the future support.
HODGSON: So, what I need is just a recommendation from this Task Force to go out to RFP. The budget portion of this is already been approved. It was in the approved budget, so a direction from you guys and weíre ready.
WILSON: Do we need to establish the pilot towns before we do that?
HODGSON: We do.
MASCARENAS: Do you need your goals to develop the RFP?
HODGSON: I need those, too.
MASCARENAS: Task one.
MONTY: So, do you have in your mind, Todd, three towns that you think would be good pilot towns?
HODGSON: Because we already have process in Keene I would recommend them. Iím not sure, Iím not looking at Joe Pete, so maybe heís shaking his head no, but because thereís already process there, so itís easy to show and thatís what I would be looking for, is just actually what is happening there. So, if you have a communication problem with Serkil maybe you want to volunteer to be one of those towns. If recycling is something that is very, very important to you, maybe you want to be one of those towns.
DOUGAN: Let me, let me give you one thing to think about, okay, if weíre really going to look at this data, okay, Joe Pete, himself has looked at even what his attendants do and is being critical of himself, being critical of the town at the same time. So, if youíre going to be part of this pilot you have to be willing to look at that, also. Not just what is Serkil doing or not doing. That whole Smartsheet, the spot where Iíve been these past few years is the guy that gets the call when Serkil didnít show up and what I hear is, so and so my attendant made a phone call and then I hear from Serkil, no we never got a phone call from so and so and I never know what the real answer is; okay? And many times itís Serkil, but sometimes itís not; okay?
DOUGAN: So, if youíre going to part of this pilot, be willing to look at yourself, again, I use the analogy, rip the Band-Aid off, here, itís, Iím just a rental equipment agency right now, is what I am. I put scales and compactors on your sites and Serkil drives all kinds of equipment to them, runs it into the ground and your operators, some of them do a great job and some donít care and so all I get is complaint calls, I never get anybody that calls and says how wonderful things are today, oh, sorry Shaun.
MONTY: I was just thinking, because of the situation of us sharing that with Serkil, I donít know how accurate that would be for us. You know what Iím saying?
DOUGAN: I donít know that you need people to commit today, I mean if youíre on this Committee then youíll be involved in it the whole time, as far as discussion, if there are people here that what to. I mean youíre kind of giving yours up.
WINEMILLER: No, we didnít give ours up.
WINEMILLER: And actually I want to speak to this, so I got, right before Christmas, I know itís late, Iím sorry, Iíll be fast, right before Christmas I got a call from the owner of Serkil, who is, Iíve never spoke to.
WINEMILLER: And he said that our recycling trailer was full of trash and they were charging us for another thing of trash and etc., so back and forth, back and forth and what I found out was, people were taking their, we charge by the bag, they were talking their bag of garbage, throwing it in the recycling trailer, so they didnít have to pay the $2.00 or $4.00 for a bag of trash and so I went down there and I worked it and I was appalled and shocked at what was going on down there and it was life altering experience to say the least. So, we are now committed to having two people on, weíre only open Saturday, 8:00-4:00, weíve got one person taking care of trash and one person whoís the recycling police; okay? So, weíre going to pay two people. Now, I apologize if I offend anyone, I am so furious right now that I am paying another person to police the plastic and youíre telling me that theyíre sending it to the garbage.
GILLILLAND: Thatís a national issue.
WINEMILLER: Well, thatís bologna, itís bologna.
GILLILLAND: Itís still, itís way above our paygrade.
WINEMILLER: I understand that, but it still makes my blood boil when Iím trying to be proactive, hire another person, pay another person and theyíre throwing it away anyway. Why I am bothering?
TYLER: There goes your warm and fuzzy feeling.
WINEMILLER: Thank you, it makes me very upset, it makes me angry.
DOUGAN: So, youíre volunteering to be one of the pilots?
WINEMILLER: I will be a pilot, but I donít know how that would help you, because we are the smallest one.
HUGHES: Maybe a large, medium and small town?
WILSON: Yeah, one from each in that first slide.
DOTY: Well, actually, I think using me is not a good idea, because we have a set system and we donít want somebody disproving a set system. Now, I do think you should utilize Shannon, though, because her knowledge is unbelievable and I am sure we will help anyway, but I hope my point is true and that I donít help the cause, because thatís one faction that is kind of clicking. †
GILLILLAND: I agree with you, Tomís facility would be very good for the large. Iíll talk to him.
WINEMILLER: I mean if you want something a little bigger, I mean ours is the smallest, so I donít know if thatís good.
HODGSON: That would be in the small category.
WINEMILLER: I am happy to do it.
TYLER: A small, medium and if you get Tom you get the large.
HODGSON: So, we just should have that finalized, as that was pointed out. These are really details that we need to have in the RFP, so those three systems and those goals for going on the RFP.
Task Three; we are looking to, besides being a volunteer for the pilot program weíre looking to, try to as many facilities that agree, implement Smartsheet or communications. This will help our data collection effort, because every time thereís a pull and gets logged and now we actually see information that we donít for recycling from each town. As you notice from the first slide, although there is a bulk recycling number, we donít actually have data on what is received from each town and thatís, so thatís something that I wouldÖ
DOTY: We do have that.
HODGSON: So, that is handled totally outside of the County system and it works very well.
HUGHES: Is Smartsheet an actually application?
HODGSON: It is, itís a web application.
HARWOOD: So, essentially itís an online, Excel, basically automation so it communicates.
HUGHES: So, you need and IPad or an IPhone.
WILSON: Weíre doing it on the phone and itís really easy, itís easier than making a phone call.
DOTY: One other faction of recycling I should mention. As revenue goes down, youíve got glass. Thereís no market for glass.
HODGSON: Yes, yes
DOTY: We use our option through DEC to stockpile for up to a year and weíre looking at glass crushers, right now.
DOTY: And weíre holding off on a major investment until we make a trip to Jefferson County that does it for that whole area. itís an expensive piece of machinery to run, but again it has a cost to running it and a loss in revenue. So, do you put it in the garbage and take the revenue.
TYLER: I heard thereís a place in Essex that will take it.
MONTY: Thatís Willsboro.
WILSON: But, then you use the product for like road fill.
GILLILLAND: Yeah, if you mix it with sand, with natural sand it makes road bed stuff.
DOTY: Right, and we have all the information, but to spend $150,000.00 to $200,000.00 youíve got to be prepared.
HODGSON: And thatís what you see in red, everything in red are things that are more or less decisions or coming decisions; which are regarding glass. That is a very big issue.
So, anyway, thatís really the end of things, I think. So, I guess, if we could. I will email the presentations, both of them out to the committee members here or actually I will probably do that through the minutes and so forth. So, I will send that to you.
GARVEY: That will be great and I will disperse them.
HODGSON: So, that way when you send that email, my email will be in there, as well and that way you can email with the items for Task One, Two and Three.
WOOD: I am not a committee member, but I am Town of Schroon, got a lot of unhappy people, thatís why Iím here, including our employees, which why I didnít volunteer our town, but I would love to get this so that all our Board members are pretty new, two are brand new, two have two years under their belt and thatís it, so this will help them understand. Thank you.
HODGSON: Okay, anything else?
WILSON: So, just to make sure that we donít leave the LGE grant to the last minute, if we meet in, well next week I got a Recruitment and Retention, if we wait two weeks is that too long?
HODGSON: Well, what I will do is Iíll begin to work another, what we need to go out on the street for the RFP and I will have some sections that will just bolt on some of the mission and the pilot.
DOTY: So, weíll be getting that in an email?
MONTY: Would it be wise to try and get something ready for DPW or just wait until Ways and Means?
DOUGAN: Because, itís specifically budgetedÖ
DOUGAN: Because itís specifically budgeted, I donít need approval from the Board to go out to RFP. I donít need approval.
WILSON: Yeah, itís just this group that needs to forward the recommendation.
DOUGAN: We wanted this committee to know what we were going to ask.
MASCARENAS: What did the application say we were going to do? So, what were the goals, objectives, initiatives in the grant application?†
HODGSON: Right in the slideshow.
MASCARENAS: The was a small application. What are your deliverables?
HODGSON: So, there is a report that is a deliverable out there.
DOUGAN: The report was about looking at the efficiencies of this is; okay? Is really what it was, so itís data driven to look at where can you have efficiencies. One of them might be, some of it does go back to the operations in the Serkil contract, but it wonít be the focus of it.
MASCARENAS: The application wasnít that well defined.
DOUGAN: Thatís right, the application, if you will even remember there was a Board resolution to even apply for it we applied for it and it was due like a week later. So, Community Resources applied fairly quickly to even go after this.
WILSON: So, if I schedule a meeting for March 28th, no February 28th, two weeks from now, is that enough time, but too much? Does everybody feel that would work?
GARVEY: So, Housing follows Ways and Means. So, you do could it following Housing.
WINEMILLER: But, then youíre holding up others.
HUGHES: Whatís before Ways and Means?
GARVEY: Yes, EMS, which is about a Ĺ hour, theyíre at 9:00. You could do it at 8:00?
WINEMILLER: But, we could also do a Go to Meeting. I could set it up, Ken could set it up. We could meet anytime, right from our own office. We donít have to be in here.
MASCARENAS: It is difficult to jam everything in Mondays.
WINEMILLER: It is.
WILSON: We could aim for like the Wednesday of next week to get it in a little earlier.
WINEMILLER: We could the 23rd and set it up for 1:00 or something. I could do a link.
WILSON: Any change you could go Zoom? My computer does not work with Go To Meeting.
WINEMILLER: I only do Go To Meeting.
DOTY: I am out on the 23rd, I have two public meetings.
WILSON: The 24th then, would a midday meeting on the 24th work, Jim, Todd?
MONTY: What is midday? Afternoons are usually tough for me.
WILSON: Like 11:00 am, then?
MONTY: Thatís fine.
WILSON: 11:00 AM on the 24th, is that good Davina?
WINEMILLER: I can do 11:00 AM, do you want to set it up then, Joe Pete and do Zoom?
WILSON: What do people prefer? If Iím the only non-zoomer.
MASCARENAS: Everything works for me.
MONTY: Whateverís fine.
WILSON: So, Iíll schedule a zoom for the 24th and 11:00 AM
GARVEY: If you send the link, I can forward.
WILSON: Thank you everybody, this is going to be a hardworking group, so thank you for your time and energy and passion.
AS THERE WAS NO FURTHER BUSINESS TO COME BEFORE THIS SOLID WASTE TASK FORCE IT WAS ADJOURNED AT 12:56 PM.
Dina Garvey, Deputy
Clerk of the Board