Council approves trash transfer contract Deal made with Garnet while rival company sues to block the agreement

July 17, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Scott Wilson contributed to this article.

The County Council Monday night approved a contract to send hundreds of tons of trash to a private transfer station to be built in Jessup, despite a lawsuit that seeks to block the agreement.

The council voted 7-0 to give its approval to a contract with Garnet Inc.

The Howard County Council, which also wants to use the regional facility, is scheduled to vote on the joint agreement July 25.

Diverting at least 300 tons of waste a day from the county's Millersville Landfill will help extend the life of that facility from 2007 to 2037, according to County Executive John G. Gary's solid waste plan.

But a Howard County waste management company filed suit last month in Anne Arundel Circuit Court against Anne Arundel, the state and a regional quasi-governmental agency to stop the awarding of the contract to Garnet.

The suit by Waste Management of Maryland Inc. claims that Anne Arundel and the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority improperly selected Garnet over Waste Management as the winning bidder.

A 'host fee'

Anne Arundel, which has a representative on the authority, was biased because the county would collect a "host fee" of $1.10 a ton of waste brought to Garnet's transfer station, according to the lawsuit.

The suit also claims that the transfer station, to be built in the 800 block of Brock Bridge Road, would violate zoning laws.

The lawsuit asks a judge to award the contract to Elkridge-based Waste Management, which operates transfer stations in Baltimore County.

County and state officials contend the county has no conflict of interest involving the host-fee agreement and that industrial zoning allows a transfer station, which is similar to a warehouse.

A hearing was held Thursday before Judge Clayton R. Greene Jr., but the judge has not issued a ruling on the request for a temporary injunction barring the awarding of the contract.

Up to 600 tons daily

Garnet could begin hauling 300 to 600 tons of trash a day from the Millersville landfill as soon as Howard County approves the deal and the parties sign the contract, said Betty Dixon, a spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel Department of Public Works.

Garnet would take the waste to its landfill in Sealston, Va., or to other facilities out of state.

The company would begin accepting an average of 300 tons of trash a day from Howard County in January, according to authority documents.

The counties each would pay Garnet $33 a ton, or more than $3 million a year through the end of the contract in December 1999.

Pub Date: 7/17/96

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