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February 6, 2014

MOSA talk explains end of an era

(Continued)

One of the factors that Sullivan cited as a contributor to the dissolution of MOSA was the Guaranteed Annual Tonnage that Otsego County is assigned yearly by MOSA. 

GAT is an amount of trash that a contributor to a landfill must bring to a landfill per year. The reason why this minimum is set is that a landfill needs to process a certain amount of garbage in order to make enough money to continue to run. If a contributor goes over or meets the GAT, nothing happens, but if they provide less than the GAT, they are penalized. The long term trend for Otsego County in MOSA has been that it hasn’t been meeting its GAT.

Sullivan gave a number of reasons for this. The first has been that recycling has been on the rise in Otsego County, with recyclables only recently being able to be used as a GAT offset.

“We’ve increased our recyclables every year,” said Sullivan.

A second is the downward turn in the economy, which Sullivan said drives trash numbers down, as consumers become more aware of their purchases. A third reason Sullivan gave was the composition of the products themselves, which she said have generally become lighter. A fourth reason is that Otsego County doesn’t have flow control, meaning it doesn’t make sure that garbage generated in Otsego County goes to Otsego County transfer stations.

Still, Sullivan said that the GAT wasn’t the only factor that played a role in MOSA’s dissolution.

“It was a multitude of 25 years ... of a strained relationship,” said Sullivan, in comments after her presentation.

Sullican said that Otsego County was the first county to express a desire to leave MOSA, in response to the coming end of the service agreement.

MOSA’s contract is set to expire on April 30. In order for Otsego County, and the two other counties in MOSA, to assume responsibility for their own waste, however, a home rule provision will need to pass the state government. This provision was introduced in the state senate on Jan. 8.

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