County panel agrees to walk away from MOSA


Recorder News Staff

FONDA -- The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Finance Committee on Tuesday moved a resolution to withdraw from Montgomery-Otsego-Schoharie Waste Management Authority.

The committee additionally moved a resolution to expand a contract with Cashin and Cahill to help the county cut ties from MOSA, should the resolution be approved by the full board next week.

That appears to be the case, based on several supervisors' attempts to second the resolution, with Florida Supervisor William Strevy then recommending a full board sponsorship.

Cashin and Cahill was hired in March to help develop a solid waste management plan in anticipation of the May 2014 expiration of MOSA's service agreement. The firm's final summary report detailing its recommendation was returned to the supervisors Tuesday.

Financial liability and requisite reorganization of MOSA's governing board were caveats in the aforementioned report, should Montgomery County continue the relationship. The warnings hinged on the anticipated secession of Otsego County, which requested and received approval from the state legislature to withdraw from MOSA.

The firm indicated if Montgomery County is to remain a member of MOSA, or its successor MSA, it must make an agreement with Otsego and/or Schoharie counties to provide financial support to the public authority.

Such financial support will be needed to allow the authority to function without deficits, the report said, and enable it to issue debt to maintain and repair facilities.

"Without county financial support, neither MOSA, or MSA, will be viable over the long run," the report says. "We also believe that the governing structure of the MSA, which will come into being if Otsego withdraws from MOSA, is flawed for a lack of proportional balance on its Board of Directors."

Cashin and Cahill further recommended if the county is unwilling to support the authority financially, it should not pursue any reform of the governing structure of MSA. Rather, the firm said it should join with Otsego County in negotiating an orderly dissolution of MOSA, or the withdrawal of both Otsego and Montgomery at the same time.

Dissolution is the approach Montgomery County will pursue. The resolution moved Tuesday would direct Board Chairman John Thayer to communicate the county's intention to the state legislature and Otsego and Schoharie counties.

Thayer said the expansion of Cashin and Cahill's contract is necessary for the county to get out of MOSA.

"There's a lot of legwork that needs to happen," he said. "The expansion of their scope in the contract will help that work get done."

In other committee news:

* A resolution in the Personnel Committee to reappoint Amsterdam 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Chiara to the county's health insurance trust board was resisted by several supervisors. Amsterdam 1st Ward Supervisor Vito "Butch" Greco offered an amendment to instead appoint Mohawk Supervisor Greg Rajkowski, but it failed amongst the committee. Chiara's name will be on the resolution before the full board Tuesday, but as Amsterdam town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza pointed out, the resolution can be amended then.

"I strongly oppose Supervisor Chiara going on the trust board," said Amsterdam 4th Ward Supervisor Barbara Wheeler. "It's a shame he would have to go back on after all the shenanigans that happened, and continue to happen."

Wheeler tried to press charges against Chiara last year, alleging he broke sunshine laws as the trust board's secretary. No charges were filed by the sheriff's office.

Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush and St. Johnsville Supervisor Dominick Stagliano were additionally nominated for reappointment to the trust board.