WESTMINSTER — It's not a full-blown breakup, but they've decided to "see other people."
Last week Carroll County officials announced that both Frederick and Carroll have agreed to pursue other partners regarding the controversial waste-to-energy incinerator that has been proposed as a joint venture between the two jurisdictions.
The Carroll Board of Commissioners sent a letter in June to Frederick County outlining a desire to seek alternatives to the waste-to-energy, which was set in motion by the previous board as a facility that would be shared by both counties, and located in Frederick County. The total cost of the plant has not been solidified, but Frederick would pay 60 percent; Carroll the other 40 percent.
Last week, Frederick County essentially agreed to Carroll's request — saying Carroll may seek alternatives and that Frederick, with the help of the Northeast Waste Disposal Authority, would start looking for a substitute partner to replace Carroll County.
If Carroll backs out, finding another partner is important — otherwise Carroll could be on the hook for $3 million associated with commitments and penalties for breaking the partnership with Frederick.
In March 2012, Carroll Commissioner Doug Howard formed a Solid Waste Work Group to research and review an alternative to the incinerator project for Carroll County. Howard said the group was tasked with considering alternatives to burning or burying waste that could handle a significant portion of the waste stream and meet a reasonable cost/benefit analysis.
Currently, the county trucks much of its waste to other jurisdictions for a fee, and the incinerator project had been seen as a potential long-term alternative
Howard said his work group plans to have its final report completed by the end of August and presented to the commissioners sometime in September. After the work group presents its report, the commissioners will discuss the options, he said.
"Through patience, information gathering and cooperative discussions with many, we have opened the door to find the right long-term solution for solid waste in Carroll County," said Hoard in a press release. "I am confident that Frederick County will find a partner whose needs fit this project and we will be able to satisfy our obligation ... without having to go forward with the WTE Incinerator or a multi-million dollar penalty."