County to seek waste-to-energy suitors

Carroll County looking at other options
Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
06/29/2012
Frederick County has the green light to pursue new partners for the proposed waste-to-energy incinerator plant. Members of the Carroll County Commissioners signed a letter Thursday to allow the discussions, but the move does not remove Carroll County from the partnership. Frederick County officials welcomed the news."We have interest from three counties," said Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young. "We haven't really been able to aggressively pursue that because of the way the contract is written." Young confirmed that Prince George's, Howard and Washington counties have expressed interest. Carroll County officials have made it known for months that they intend to pursue other trash-disposal alternatives.

County Commissioners tell Frederick to look for new partner for incinerator as they explore alternatives

Carroll County Times
Carrie Ann Knauer
06/28/2012
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners took a first public step toward getting out of a deal to build a waste-to-energy incinerator with Frederick County Thursday by drafting a letter to the Frederick board encouraging them to find another partner to take Carroll's place. Board President Doug Howard, R-District 5, said it was his understanding that the Frederick Board of Commissioners was drafting a similar document Thursday that would grant Carroll freedom to pursue alternative methods of solid waste management. “This should not be construed as the ultimate decision, but a step forward where we can each begin to explore things in a broader way,” Howard said.

Frederick County opens new nursing home and assisted living facility

$30 million opening comes after challenges and set backs
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/12/2012
After 10 challenging years for Frederick County’s government-run nursing home, officials cut the ceremonial ribbon Tuesday, opening the new 116,000-square-foot building to praise and accolades. The ribbon cutting not only included the opening of the new Citizens Care & Rehabilitation Center, but also the opening of the new county-owned 40,000-square-foot Montevue Assisted Living, both on Rosemont Avenue in Frederick. The homes, located on the same land as existing buildings, serve low-income Frederick County residents. Plans are to move the 135 residents living in the nursing home and the 60 people in assisted living to their new homes July 10. “This is a new chapter and a new day,” said Frederick County Commissioner Blaine R. Young (R). “We are open for business and we want to be the most senior-friendly county in the state.” Young praised the new homes to a packed room of former and current county and state elected officials and board of trustee members.

Sloganeering

Frederick News Post
02/05/2012
If we thought for a minute that a highway sign that read "Welcome to Frederick County. Open for Business" would actually create a single job or prompt a business to expand or relocate here -- then that would be one thing. But the reality is that the only work created by a sign like this is for the county employee who painted the political slogan on it. We say "political," because that's exactly what this is all about. Here is the latest spat involving Commissioners President Blaine Young: The commissioner is upset with the Maryland State Highway Administration because it won't allow three words -- "Open for Business" -- on signs posted along major roadways, such as U.S. 15, U.S. 340, I-70 and I-270. The fact that it's just three words isn't the point, nor the fact that the words are "open for business." Instead, the real irony is that this is really nothing more than a campaign slogan being painted on a taxpayer-funded sign.

County forging ahead with incinerator

Public hearing on the project set for today
Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
12/07/2011
Frederick County is forging ahead with a waste-to-energy incinerator despite some hesitation from its partner in the project. Carroll County, which can opt out of the multimillion-dollar deal once final costs are determined next year, remains on the fence about whether it will stay on board. "We understand they are taking a look at the whole project," Michael Marschner, special projects manager for the county, said during a meeting Tuesday with the editorial board at The Frederick News-Post. "They need to make whatever decision is right for their county." Should Carroll County pass on the opportunity, it would leave Frederick County on the hook. "If you don't have another equity partner, I think the project stalls," Marschner said.

Official says WTE incinerator construction remains on track

Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
12/01/2011
Construction of a waste-to-energy incinerator in Frederick County is on pace to start by August 2012, and the plant could be up and running three years later. All that remains is final permitting, which is still being reviewed, Michael Marschner, special projects manager for the county, told the Rotary Club of Frederick on Wednesday. "It's not like you're getting a permit for a house," Marschner said. "There are a lot of things that get checked and double-checked." The county has so far hit no major snags in the process, he said. "Everything is proceeding pretty much on schedule," Marschner said. "These are large projects that take a lot of time to develop." Frederick and Carroll counties have an agreement to build the 1,500-ton-per-day incinerator at McKinney Industrial Park in Frederick. The plant will burn trash to generate electricity for both counties.

Fact checking 'WTE 101, continued'

Frederick News Post
Karin Tome
11272011
If Harvey Alter were graded on his Nov. 17 commentary ("WTE 101, continued"), he wouldn't receive a very high score. It's not what he said, but what he didn't say. The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority will issue bonds to pay for the proposed trash incinerator, but the county is obligated (through a separate contract with NMWDA) to make regular payments to them, such as you would for your mortgage. The county's System Benefit Charge is not "so-called," but very real. As a member of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Alter knows very well that the primary revenue for this business operation is based both on tipping fees and the SBC fee (which is found on residential and commercial property tax bills and can be raised without limit.) If the revenue from tipping and SBC fees, and the electricity sales and ferrous metal recovery don't cover those expenses, county residents will have to make up the difference through higher SBCs. Alter states that "... anecdotal evidence from around the country is that communities with WTE recycle more" and "Recycling and WTE together conserve and recover more resources than either alone." That statement is true only where recycling is at a very low level and the tonnage of ash (if used for landfill daily cover) and ferrous metal found in the ash are counted as recycling. However, as recycling increases it will compete with incineration, especially for plastics and paper. We could spend, however, a fraction of the cost of the incinerator on alternative ways to divert waste from the landfill (such as a commercial compost facility or manned recycling centers throughout the county (in addition to Reich's Ford Road) and we'd be able to recover many more resources and conserve more energy than would be produced by burning them. For example: Manufacturing a ton of newspaper from trees takes 11,699 kilowatt hours; if that ton of paper is recycled, a new ton of paper can be made using only 6,442 kWh, but if it's burned it only produces 1,875 kWh of electricity.

Fact checking ‘WTE 101, continued’

Frederick News Post
Karin Tome
11272011
If Harvey Alter were graded on his Nov. 17 commentary ("WTE 101, continued"), he wouldn't receive a very high score. It's not what he said, but what he didn't say. The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority will issue bonds to pay for the proposed trash incinerator, but the county is obligated (through a separate contract with NMWDA) to make regular payments to them, such as you would for your mortgage. The county's System Benefit Charge is not "so-called," but very real. As a member of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Alter knows very well that the primary revenue for this business operation is based both on tipping fees and the SBC fee (which is found on residential and commercial property tax bills and can be raised without limit.) If the revenue from tipping and SBC fees, and the electricity sales and ferrous metal recovery don't cover those expenses, county residents will have to make up the difference through higher SBCs. Alter states that "... anecdotal evidence from around the country is that communities with WTE recycle more" and "Recycling and WTE together conserve and recover more resources than either alone." That statement is true only where recycling is at a very low level and the tonnage of ash (if used for landfill daily cover) and ferrous metal found in the ash are counted as recycling. However, as recycling increases it will compete with incineration, especially for plastics and paper. We could spend, however, a fraction of the cost of the incinerator on alternative ways to divert waste from the landfill (such as a commercial compost facility or manned recycling centers throughout the county (in addition to Reich's Ford Road) and we'd be able to recover many more resources and conserve more energy than would be produced by burning them. For example: Manufacturing a ton of newspaper from trees takes 11,699 kilowatt hours; if that ton of paper is recycled, a new ton of paper can be made using only 6,442 kWh, but if it's burned it only produces 1,875 kWh of electricity.

Frederick commissioners eye cuts to housing and elderly programs

Loss of services could leave seniors, the poor and jobless without help, supporters say
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
10/11/2011
Christie Christian credits the Frederick County Department of Housing and Community Development with helping her and her three children from losing their home. Christian of Frederick said the department has been helping her pay her rent because she’s unable to work. “I’m on Social Security disability and my husband died,” Christian said. “We were always a two-income family, but I can no longer work. Without [the department] I couldn’t make it. They help with my rent because I can’t find a full-time job.” Christian said when friends question her circumstances she tells them “I’m low income, I’m raising a family, and I need help.” The mother of three told her story to Frederick County commissioners Thursday because she is worried that they will cut funding to the department. Commissioners are looking to cut programs that rely on federal and state grant money that is matched or exceeded by county tax dollars. They started talking last month about reducing the funding to all programs funded by federal and state grants in which the county provides a share of the money. The Frederick County Child Advocacy Center and the Frederick County Development Center’s Infants & Toddlers Program were discussed Sept. 26. Frederick County Transit Services and the Office of Children and Families were discussed Oct. 6, and Family Partnership, Frederick County Circuit Court and the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office were discussed Tuesday. Frederick County Workforce Services, Housing and Community Development and the Frederick County Department of Aging were discussed Thursday. The department of Housing and Community Development will receive $5.8 million in federal and state grants in fiscal 2012, and an additional $335,200 from the county. The county is not required to provide any money to keep the grants, according to staff reports.

Frederick commissioners want developers, not county employees, to handle water and sewer projects

Public hearing on pilot program set for Thursday
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
08/23/2011
Frederick County wants developers, not county employees, to handle the contracts, inspections and supervision of new water and sewer construction projects for 18 months under a proposed new pilot program. The proposal is part of the Frederick Board of County Commissioners’ efforts to make it easier for developers to do work in Frederick County, said Kevin L. Demosky, director of the county’s division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management Division. “It’s the desire by the board to look at different aspects of the ‘business friendly’ approach,” he said.

County charter goes to voters

Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
07/11/2012
Members of the Frederick County Charter Board didn't agree on everything Tuesday night, but they reached a unanimous consensus on one thing. The nine voting members agreed to advance the proposed charter and send the document to voters in November. The final vote put an end to nearly 16 months of meetings to draft what could define the county's government.

Public decries waste-to-energy project

Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
07/22/2011
Potential pollution, traffic and expense associated with a waste-to-energy incinerator drew a group of residents to a meeting Thursday with Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. and the Maryland Department of the Environment. Members of the public who attended the meeting were not convinced that the county plant will receive enough trash to make it profitable, and if it does they said too much material that could be recycled will be incinerated instead.

Young says Carroll County must decide whether to remain in incinerator partnership

Frederick commissioners' president also questions moving the trash-burning plant
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
03/31/2011
Frederick County Commissioners' President Blaine R. Young said today Carroll County must decide if it wants to still be a partner in the planned incinerator. Young (R) asked Michael G. Marschner, the special projects manager with the Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management, to meet with Carroll County commissioners and see if they are still on board with the incinerator, or what some people call a "waste-to-energy facility" because it burns trash to produce electricity. Young said he wants an answer in 30 days. "We need to find out the status of Carroll County," he said. "Are they in or are they out?"

Candidates clash at final forum

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
10/27/2010
In a last-minute push for votes, candidates at a Tuesday night Frederick County commissioner forum went into attack mode on some of the biggest issues facing the county. Candidates disagreed on the effects of land use policy, how much the budget has been cut and whether the next board should reverse a decision to build a regional waste-to-energy trash incinerator. Ten candidates are running for five slots on the commissioners board.

Public hearing on waste-to-energy brings crowd

Frederick News Post
Karen Gardner
02/18/2009
Debt, dioxins, outdated technology and traffic were just some of the reasons Frederick County residents gave for opposing a proposed waste-to-energy plant during a public hearing before the County Commissioners on Tuesday night. Most of the speakers opposed the incinerator, which is projected to cost the county $325 million. Carroll County would assume an additional $200 million of the cost, if the two counties decide to proceed. The commissioners are considering whether to build the incinerator to handle 800 tons of trash Frederick County residents generate per day. Most of that trash is being sent to an out-of-state landfill. County officials said that is not a long-term solution. At least 60 people signed up to speak at the hearing, which will be continued at 7 p.m. Thursday. Three local developers said the incinerator would be a blight for residents and businesses who are within a few miles of the Md. 85 corridor. The site being considered is on Metropolitan Court, off English Muffin Way, across the Monocacy River from the Monocacy National Battlefield.

Burnt Out

Frederick News Post
Katherine Heerbrandt
12/03/2008
'm not wild about writing yet another column on the waste-to-energy discussion. I stick with it not only out of a sense of moral obligation and civic duty, but in the sincere hope that someday Frederick County will get the answers it needs to make the right choice. Then everyone on both sides of the debate will form a circle, join hands and sing "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" just like in that old hippy-dippy Coke commercial. OK, that's never going to happen. But come on, we're talking three years that this issue's been in the news. It's certain that county staff's been working at it much longer. And yet we still don't know with certainty how much it's going to cost to build and operate, where it will be located, or whether Frederick County will produce enough trash to feed the gaping mouth of the mass-burn beast we've come to know as WTE. Will it be a 1,500-ton incinerator or a 900-ton incinerator? With or without hauling Carroll County's garbage into the county, coming up with 1,500 tons of trash a day is no small feat. So will the county one day be forced to advertise outside its borders with slogans like, Your Trash is Our Treasure; You Bring it, We Burn it; or Got Trash? And I still can't get a logical answer to this burning question: How are aggressive recycling efforts compatible with the WTE's exceptionally large appetite for traditional recyclables like plastics and paper?