Harford County Councilman Jim McMahan wants the existing waste-to-energy incinerator in Joppa to be considered for the site for the county's planned trash transfer station once the incinerator closes in 2016.
But the suggestion was quickly scotched by County Executive David Craig, who says "it won't happen."
The discussion about the controversial transfer station took place Thursday morning, as the Harford County Board of Estimates approved a study of uses for 13-acre waste-to-energy facility at Aberdeen Proving Ground, which will determine any alternatives the county has razing the structure located off Route 152 just inside the federal institution's perimeter.
"What are they [APG] going to do with their trash?" McMahan asked. "This is an ideal spot for a transfer station. How can we get that addressed?"
Dan Pazdersky, with the department of public works, said APG doesn't have much trash to begin with.
Craig chimed in and said he didn't think the county could get such a proposal addressed by the Army, which owns the land where the incinerator is located and buys its steam, but also doesn't want the county owned and operated incinerator to continue.
"They [the Army] don't want the facility anymore," Pazdersky said.
McMahan stuck with it, however, saying: "It makes no sense to tear down that building."
Craig reiterated that the federal government is paying for the facility because it is their land. McMahan then repeated that he wanted to see what the county could do to use the site.
Public Works Director Bob Cooper agreed with Craig, saying the Army would never go for the county using the site for a trash transfer station. The county plans to locate the transfer station near the I-95/Route 152 interchange in Joppa, but that plan has area residents up in arms.
"I think we need to be more aggressive with the Army and get [Congressman]Dutch [Ruppersberger] in on this," McMahan said. He said Ruppersberger already has met with Councilman Dion Guthrie on the matter. Guthrie represents the area along Route 7 where the transfer station is proposed.
"It's not on our property," Craig responded.
"You make things happen, David," McMahan said, asking if a long-term lease on the APG site would be an option.
"It's not going to happen," Craig replied.
Pazdersky said county will be paying for the cost of tearing down the incinerator, which will be several million dollars. Finding an alternative to razing the building could save considerable money.
Which prompted board member Warren Hamilton to ask that if the point of the study is to come up with alternatives to razing the building, couldn't McMahan's suggestion be one of them.
Craig said it could, but the Army will still turn down
"It's basically changing the question you already know the answer to," he said.
The board went ahead an approved the $135,000 study contract with Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority, the county's partner in the incinerator.
The study will need to be completed by Aug. 31, Pazdersky said.
Abingdon water treatment plant
Additional time and money is need to complete the expansion of the Abingdon Water Treatment Plant.
The board approved a change order for $71,280, bringing the amended contract with Arcadis U.S. Inc., of Columbia, to $3,185,047.42.
Jackie Ludwig, of water and sewer, said the contractors "slipped up" during Phase II of the project, causing delays in Phase III.
During Phase II, Ludwig said, the treatment plant had to run for 30 days without having issues, but this didn't occur.
The plant was unable to automatically run, she explained, and improper wiring had to be redone. Ludwig said this was the contractor's mistake and the person responsible was no longer with the company.
The project is slated to be completed by the end of April. The original completion date was Nov. 16, 2011.
Wireless radio system expansion
The board approved a $1,732,395 contract with Motorola as Harford's share of expanding the region's wireless radio system used by public safety employees for communication during major fire and law enforcement events.
The wireless system serves Harford Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll and Howard counties and Baltimore City.
Mitch Vocke, with emergency operations, explained the county won't incur direct expenses for the project, as it's covered by a grant from Regional Homeland Security.
"Over the years, the various member jurisdictions of the BMC [Baltimore Metropolitan Council] have shared the responsibility of coordinating activities related to the CMARC [Central Maryland Area Radio Communications] system," read a memo from Vocke to Debbie Henderson, director of procurement. "Harford County has now assumed this role and accordingly we are asking to approve the expenditure of regional grant funding."
Natural gas funding
Constellation New Energy-Gas Division will again serve the county government's natural gas needs.
The contract with Constellation, which was up for renewal, is for an award not to exceed $500,000 for one year, with options to renew for four additional one-year periods.
When the contract was put up for bid, Henderson explained, Constellation was once again the best choice.
Last year the county spent $325,000 on natural gas. Henderson said she doesn't believe they'll reach the $500,000 maximum this year, either.
Test pit explorations
An amount not to exceed $50,000 will go to Underground Services Inc., of West Chester, Pa., to procure test pit explorations on various projects throughout the county.
Underground Services was the lowest out of five bidders for the contract.
The county's internal affairs office will move from its current location at 206 Hays Street in Bel Air to the second floor of 10 S. Main Street for a lease of $25,200, plus utilities, for one year with four one-year automatic renewals.
Erin Schafer, with the department of procurement, said the move is the result of the Hays Street building being sold.
The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region will lease 34 N. Philadelphia Boulevard in Aberdeen for $1 for one year with a one-year automatic renewal.
The organization will use the building to conduct job training in conjunction with the Susquehanna Workforce Network.