Antrim and Waste Management agreement up for renewal

PAT FRIDGEN

Antrim Township has a landfill in its backyard. As a result, it also has a cooperative agreement with the company that runs the facility that puts money into the township coffers. The agreement is updated every so often.

The current Municipal Host Compensation Agreement between Antrim Township and Waste Management expires Dec. 31. It was penned Dec. 28, 2005 and took effect Jan. 1, 2006 as a five year contract (though technically calendar years 2006 to 2011 equal six years). WM owns and operates Mountain View Reclamation, the landfill situated west of Greencastle, partially in Montgomery Township. The business address is 9446 Letzburg Road.

Antrim administrator Brad Graham and MVR senior district manager John Wardzinski will meet to review the document. Its' passage, including any particular changes, will go before the Board of Supervisors for approval. Solicitor John Lisko will also examine it.

Antrim and WM first entered into an agreement on Aug. 14, 1995, to run though 2000. It was amended March 29, 2001 to last until Dec. 31, 2005, then renegotiated until the end of 2011. Certain terms were established for the life of the landfill, such as reserving capacity for township residents.

Waste Management

WM is a national company with 42,800 employees and 20 million customers, according to its website. It earned $12.5 billion in revenue in 2010, with  corporate offices in Houston, Texas. It operates in 47 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico; has 271 active landfills; and owns over 32,000 fleet vehicles.

As per the agreement, MVR accepts waste from other states. Because of its proximity to the border, it takes trash from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland. Acceptable waste comes from municipal, residual, agricultural, food processing, and solid waste sources. Even if WM accepts something it does not have a permit for, that tonnage is included in the formula which dictates what it pays to Antrim for operating within township confines.

WM submits quarterly payments to Antrim, with detailed statements.

The fees depend on the source of the waste disposed at the landfill.

For out-of-state waste, for every ton, $1 goes to the township.

For all waste, regardless of source, 30 cents per ton goes into a separate township account to be used only for parks. However, the money can be transferred to the general fund for other purposes. Another five cents is designated for the Rescue Hose Company. Five cents also goes to Medic 2, Waynesboro Area Advanced Life Support Unit.

WM also pays Antrim $5,000 per year solely to be used for Martin's Mill Bridge or its' park.

Antrim and Montgomery also proportionately split $1 per ton as the host municipalities.

A conditional use fee rose from 52 cents to 80 cents per ton for all waste, when the plan for the Northwest Expansion was approved by Antrim on Sept. 9, 2008.

Another clause in the agreement directs WM to award $5,000 in college scholarships to Borough of Greencastle or Antrim Township students. A citizen's advisory committee, comprised of two community members, one supervisor, Antrim's landfill inspector Roger Nowell, Wardzinski and WM Community Relations representative Cheryl Shields, determine the recipients.

Finally, WM picks up and delivers dumpsters at no charge to Antrim at its municipal building, wastewater treatment plant, water treatment plant (though this was penciled in and not initialed on the contract), Antrim Township Community Park and Enoch Brown Park.

The language in one section indicates that two supervisors and one representative from WM would make all decisions on the use of the 30 cents for parks. However, Graham and Scott Diffenderfer, a supervisor at the time, said that was not the intent. The committee was only to make recommendations to the full board, and that is how it has been handled.

The current agreement was signed by WM vice president James M. Dancy Jr., and Karen L. Osilka; and for Antrim, Diffenderfer and Renee G. Perrin.

Another township

Not all municipal host agreements are the same. Chartiers Township in Houston, Pa., the site of the Arden Landfill, established an agreement under the same law as Antrim. The Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act of 1988 required counties and municipalities to make sure there were adequate disposal facilities for their own residents.

The Chartiers/Arden agreement was signed in August 1989 for the landfill that had already been operating for 70 years. It was amended in May 2005.

Arden pays Chartiers $1.75 per ton for all waste. The fee will go up if the gate fee of $65 per ton goes up. It also pays $1 per ton on waste streams from a steel company. Quarterly payments are also submitted and the agreement is for the life of the landfill.

Arden believes it has sufficient space for its township residents under a county plan. However, if the county does not create a satisfactory plan to provide for such protection, Arden will reserve disposal capacity for 10 years, as long as the township sets up a monitored collection system, and the guaranteed capacity is allowed by law, among other points.

The landfill is also authorized to accept waste from out-of-state. In consideration of the covenants of the agreement, Chartiers agreed to assist and cooperate with Arden to assure healthy and sanitary conditions. The two parties established hours to accept waste, hours of daily operation, staging of vehicles, maintenance activities and construction.

The township holds an annual spring cleanup and Arden picks up and accepts the items, not to exceed 200 tons per year, at no cost. Chartiers also drops off up to 100 tons per year from miscellaneous cleanups for free.

The agreement specifies that Arden will respond to all written complaints presented by the township within 30 days, and will let Chartiers' representative inspect the facility to assure compliance with the agreement. The inspection must be done in the presence of the landfill operator during normal business hours. The township also recognizes that the landfill tries to minimize nuisances.

An addendum was added in 1993. If Arden challenges any township ordinance in court and wins, it will withhold host benefit fees to covers its expenses. If Arden loses, it will reimburse the township its legal fees for defending the litigation.

The money involved

In 2010, MVR accepted 263,558.64 tons of trash. Of that, 148,795.93 tons were from out-of-state.

As of Oct. 8, 2011, the landfill accepted 214,147.05 tons of trash and the amount coming from out-of-state was 112,550.42.

Antrim Township's 2011 budget planned for $588,155 from the landfill. That's down from the $628,699 received in 2010, and even less than the $818,467 received in 2009. The landfill account fund balance last December 31 was $6,805,357 and the expected fund balance at the end of this year is $6,445,212.

The revenue expected for Martin's Mill Bridge is $5,250, which includes interest on the fund balance of $20,632. The end of the year balance is set at $22,882. The budget listed $10,000 each for fire and emergency services from the landfill fees.

In Chartiers, the income from its landfill varies, but is often $600,000 a year. Manager Samuel Stockton said now it is averaging $200,000 per quarter because of gas drilling in the area. It goes into their general fund.

Antrim spending of the landfill monies this year included a transfer of $941,500 to the general fund for the parks, some of which is reimbursable; $3,000 for maintenance of the bridge; and $6,800 for landfill inspections and other expenses. However, Graham said while $5,500 was set aside for the landfill inspector salary, not much oversight has been done. The sewer plant staff has been short-handed due to health issues of an employee, so Nowell has devoted his time to the plant operation. Ideally, Graham wants an inspection of the landfill several times a week, and he hopes to find an alternate way to get that done.