New Jersey bails out two solid waste agencies again
NEW YORK - New Jersey is coming to the rescue once again to help two financially troubled solid waste agencies meet their June 1 debt service payments, agency officials said yesterday.
The Warren County Pollution Control Financing Authority and the Camden County Pollution Control Financing Authority also needed the states help in December to pay bondholders.
Solid waste agencies have been under intense pressure in New Jersey following deregulation of the industry in 1997 and the subsequent loss of revenues to neighbouring states, where dumping fees are lower.
The state agreed on Wednesday to provide $4.6 million to Camdens facility in order for the agency to meet it $5.6 million interest payment, said Frank Giordano, executive director of the agency.
The solid waste agency has about $1 million left in an interest account that it will use to complete the payment.
It is also continuing to negotiate with the state on a more permanent solution, but Giordano would not elaborate on the details. "We hope we can finalise a permanent deal going into the next few months," he said.
Warren Countys facility also received an agreement from the state on Wednesday for about $1.5 million necessary to make an interest payment on its incinerator, Executive Director John Carlton said.
Operating revenues from its landfill will be sufficient to pay the $537,000 debt service due on those bonds, he added.
"Our understanding is that state will release the funds and we will push to have it done today," Carlton said.
The agency chief said he and the state are also working on a longer term solution to solve the ongoing problem.
Among the ideas being discussed are a refinancing of outstanding debt that would stretch out maturities and lower the monthly payments, he said.
Gov. Christie Whitman included $20 million in her fiscal 2000 budget to help with solid waste debt. About $8.3 million of that money went to help counties this year.
An additional $13 million from the general fund is authorised by the Treasurer for solid waste debt, according to Fran Rapa, deputy communications director for Treasurer Roland Machold. Another $20 million is proposed for the fiscal 2001 budget.
Story by Linda Prospero
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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