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Covanta Agreement Could Save Garden City $300K

Village Contract With Hempstead Town Expires August 19

A direct agreement with Covanta, a facility that uses municipal solid waste as a fuel to generate clean, renewable energy, could potentially save Garden City $300,000 a year in garbage tipping fees.

For the past 20 to 25 years, Garden City has been a party in an inter-municipal agreement with the Town of Hempstead to bring its garbage to the Covanta plant under a contractual relationship with the Town of Hempstead. That agreement is expiring Aug. 19. Now, the village will enter into an agreement directly with Covanta for the disposal of municipal solid waste. Cutting out the middleman, so to speak, will save Garden City $20 a ton in fees.

On average, Garden City disposes anywhere from 14,000 to 15,000 tons of garbage a year. Covanta charges $71 a ton, which adds up to anywhere from $280,000 to $300,000 in savings to the village annually.

The price per ton will adjust yearly - reflective of cost of living – but won’t exceed 3 percent annually, according to a provision in the proposed five-year agreement.

The contract is still being negotiated, according to Trustee John Mauk, though the “nuts and bolts” of it are intended to remain the same.

Village Counsel Gary Fishberg, who’s been involved in negotiations, said he and Village Administrator Bob Schoelle met with Covanta officials July 13 to iron out some kinks. Covanta made approximately 14 exceptions, Fishberg said, all of which have since been addressed.

“Some were resolved in Covanta’s favor. Some were resolved in the village’s favor,” Fishberg said, noting that all were technical in nature and do not effect operations.

The five-year agreement will likely be extended nine months to ensure a fiscal year basis with the village, which runs from June 1 to May 31. According to Fishberg, any changes in rate will be based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is announced in January.

“So by the time you get into budget meetings, you will know what the new rate is beginning June 1 [the next budget year.] Currently, we don’t have that luxury,” Fishberg said. The Town of Hempstead used to send Garden City a notice, retroactively adjusting the rate Garden City paid, dating back to Jan. 1 of a given year.

Covanta’s bid was actually not the lowest the village received; Omni of Babylon was $1.25 less. But in light of travel time and expenses associated with that, Garden City opted for Covanta, which is located at Merchants Concourse in nearby Westbury.