November 11, 2011


CSEA argues for Waste Management recycling proposal

Union says company will bring county more money than J.M. Murray Center

Staff Reporter

The Cortland County union representing two employees who would be laid off under a proposed change in Recycling Center management advocated on Thursday for the county to contract with Waste Management.
CSEA representatives told the Budget and Finance Committee that Waste Management’s proposal would be about $10,000 more profitable than the J.M. Murray Center’s proposal, which they say has extra expenses not considered previously.
The Highway Committee last week approved a resolution that would allow the J.M. Murray Center to take over operations at the center. The Legislature will vote on the proposal at next Thursday’s session.
A special meeting of the Highway Committee is set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to further discuss the proposal.
The J.M. Murray Center, Waste Management and Casella Waste Services all submitted bids to manage the recycling center.
The center’s projected yearly loss in 2012 — $220,500, which includes debt service — would be cut to $113,000 under the J.M. Murray proposal.
The proposal would save about $150,000 in salary and fringe benefits by cutting a crew leader and an equipment operator. It would bring in about $300,000 in revenues based on a $100 per-ton price for sale of recyclables. Only one person would be laid off under the Waste Management proposal.
But CSEA representatives Colin Cummins and Will Streeter told the committee that the Waste Management proposal would be more profitable to the county than the Murray Center proposal.
Waste Management would actually generate about $37,993 in profits while the contract with the Murray Center would bring in $29,555, Cummins said.
County Administrator Martin Murphy had originally projected Waste Management to produce about $27,000 in profits.
The difference is because of variables Cummins says were not laid out in the proposal, such as the cost of dumping wastes — which Waste Management would absorb — and the cost of maintaining equipment under the Murray Center proposal.
“The best business decision the county could make would be to award the contract to Waste Management,” Cummins said.
The cost of taking about 200 tons of waste to the landfill annually would be about $12,000 said Cummins, under the Murray Center proposal. That expense would not exist with Waste Management’s proposal because that bidder would absorb the cost.
The expense of maintaining county equipment would also be higher than the $6,000 figure originally projected under the Murray Center’s proposal, Cummins said, because that estimate does not take into account repairs that are not included in work orders.
These factors and other smaller expenses laid out by the CSEA, all combine to cut the profit in the Murray Center’s projected revenue stream of $280,000, which is based on a $100 per ton fee, to about $29,555, according to Cummins’ projections.
By comparison, the expenses associated with the Waste Management proposal leave a $37,993 profit from $120,000 in anticipated revenue.
Streeter and Cummins urged the officials to reconsider the proposal and take into account the longevity of the employees whose jobs are at stake: 15 years for the crew leader and 20 years for the equipment operator.
The J.M. Murray Center would take over these jobs.
Committee members were not sold on the CSEA’s presentation, however.
Legislator Tony Pace (D-7th Ward) said he wants to hear the Murray Center’s response to the issues that were raised. Murray Center officials were not present for Thursday’s discussion.
Committee Chair Kathie Arnold (D-Cuyler, Solon and Truxton) said the points raised by the CSEA will be considered but she thinks the J.M. Murray Center’s revenue will actually be higher than the $280,000 projected.
The center’s proposal carries a $100-per-ton price for sale of recyclables, about $60 more than the price the Casella or Waste Management proposals would bring in.
Arnold pointed out this figure fluctuates with the market and she thinks the $280,000 figure is based on low projections. The Murray Center’s higher per-ton price is a major reason the county opted to accept its proposal.


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