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March 27, 2014

Casella in line to be Otsego trash partner

The final curtain is near for the regional solid waste authority known as MOSA, and two key committees of Otsego County lawmakers are signaling they want Vermont-based Casella Waste Systems to be its partner in managing trash disposal.

Meanwhile, both the state Senate and the Assembly passed a measure Thursday that calls for the dissolution of the Montgomery Otsego Schoharie Solid Waste Management Authority on April 30. The legislation now awaits the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The agency was created 25 years ago under the theory that three rural counties working together were better off to have a public authority oversee trash management than each one going it alone. The MOSA board, made up of representatives of each of the three counties, gradually became divided over a variety of issues, and officials from Otsego County, in particular, questioned MOSA’s efficiency.

“I know the governor wants to consolidate services, but this arrangement has not worked,” said Otsego County Rep. Linda Rowinski, D-Oneonta, the chairwoman of the county’s Solid Waste and Environmental Concerns Committee. 

Her panel and the Administration Committee, led by Rep. Edwin Frazier Jr., R-Unadilla, both gave the green light this week to Casella, a company that was formed in 1975 in Rutland, Vt., and now operates throughout the Northeast. Casella opened Vermont’s first recycling center.

“We are leading the solid waste industry with an innovative business strategy that seeks to create sustainable value beyond the traditional disposal model,” Casella states on its web site. “We view waste as a resource for producing renewable energy and a raw material for manufacturing new products.”

Otsego County residents, Rowinski said, will likely notice no changes in how their trash is taken away by private haulers.

 “There really should be no difference for anyone, and the rates people pay shouldn’t be going up,” she said.

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