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Baltimore County Sees Gold in Recycling

Bill awaiting Baltimore County Council approval would give county permission to sidestep usual purchasing and bond sales rules for $25 million facility.

Paper, plastic and cans is trash to some but Baltimore County officials say it could be a source of additional revenue.

Keith Dorsey, the county budget and finance director, told the County Council Tuesday that a proposed $25 million recycling facility could generate $200,000 a month in revenue.

Dorsey and the county are asking the council to approve a bill that would allow it to raise $25 million to pay for the new facility through the sale of certificates of participation.

The new facility would replace an existing one at the Texas Landfill in Cockeysville.

Dorsey said the new facility might allow the county to generate additional revenue by contracting to process other jurisdiction's recyclables.

Previously, the county has worked with the Maryland Environmental Service to process recyclables. The new facility would allow the county to process the materials on its own.

"We'll be handling the operation ourselves," said Fred Homan, the county administrative officer.

Because the notes are not backed by the county in the same way general obligation bonds are, the interest rates would be higher—meaning the county would pay more to investors in interest over the 20-year life of the loan.

Homan told the council the rating on the certificates would be AA+, a slightly lower rating than the county's AAA bond rating.

The county estimates that it would pay slightly more than $12.1 million in interest on the certificates over the life of the loan.

The bill, which is scheduled for a Nov. 7 final vote, allows the county to sidestep some of the normal processes involved in other types of bond sales.

Homan said the process is similar to those undertaken on other projects including the purchase of the Jefferson and the Public Safety Buildings in Towson.

Robert Armstrong November 02, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Maybe somebody should ask if they can make those numbers on actual wages instead of slave labor. Maybe they can tout it as a job creation program if they actually pay living wages.
Robert Armstrong November 02, 2011 at 04:34 PM
.........but then it will kill the profit.
Bruce Vail November 02, 2011 at 07:10 PM
I think I see RED FLAGS popping up all over the place.
Robert Armstrong November 02, 2011 at 10:43 PM
Huge Red Flags. The only thing worse then this is the private operation of the Blow and Go's.
Valerie Androutsopoulos November 04, 2011 at 05:44 PM
The real issue here is why is the county competing with the private sector? And what happens when the value of the recyclables goes down?

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