Instead of withdrawing from the project once permits were issued, which was Friday, commissioners voted 4 to 1 to extend the negotiating period "indefinitely."
It is a move that commissioners say will provide more time for staff to negotiate their departure from the project while saving taxpayer money.
"We're just allocating a little more time to try to get that done to save the taxpayers some money," Commissioner Haven Shoemaker said.
Commissioner Doug Howard cast the lone opposing vote.
Most of the commissioners have been moving toward leaving the project since campaigning on the issue in 2010.
In June 2013, commissioners voted to allocate $3 million from a reserve for contingencies fund to pay any penalties associated with exiting the agreement with the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority once permits were issued.
On Friday, the Maryland Department of the Environment issued the necessary permits for the project. Permits are effective Feb. 21 and include air quality, refuse disposal, and wastewater discharge permits.
After Thursday's meeting, commissioners said this vote does not represent the board delaying their decision to avoid making it altogether.
Commissioner Richard Rothschild said setting a deadline would be irresponsible of the board.
"If we were to set a deadline, they would just wait us out," he said of the negotiations.
He added that he believes negotiations will not "drag on."
"It is in the best interest of all parties to resolve this very quickly," Rothschild said.
Shoemaker described the commissioners' vote as "kicking the can down the road with a purpose."
"This is not an indefinite postponement from our way of thinking, it's a short respite," Shoemaker said.
While the commissioners discussed and voted on the resolution Thursday, the commissioners' office never publicly advertised that the board would be discussing the issue during the meeting.
After a vote on the formation of a solid waste advisory board, Tom Rio, administrator of Public Works, brought up the subject of the waste-to-energy incinerator.
Rio said negotiations are ongoing with Frederick County and Wheelabrator to leave the project before commissioners delved into a 10-minute discussion on the topic.
Commissioners acknowledged after the meeting that not advertising the discussion may have been a mistake.
"If we followed our regular policy, it would have been on the agenda," Commissioner Robin Frazier said.