REGISTER VIEWPOINT: County right to balk at landfill gas bill

We're glad to see the county balking at a $211,000 bill from Ameresco, a company hired by county commissioners in 2004. The com
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

We're glad to see the county balking at a $211,000 bill from Ameresco, a company hired by county commissioners in 2004. The company was brought in to develop a system and locate an end user for the methane gas energy produced by rotting garbage at the county landfill.

We're at a loss why the county's willing to pay anything to this company, however, since it appears to have failed to fulfill its obligations under the contract.

Commissioner Bill Monaghan said the county's offer to pay Ameresco $92,700 "was more than fair." But why should Monaghan, and commissioners Tom Ferrell and Nancy McKeen be "more than fair" when handing over taxpayer money?

Details are thin.

County commissioners say they've secured another firm that already has begun utilizing the methane gas at the landfill as an energy source.

The $92,700 offer might represent payment for work Ameresco did provide, but county officials are keeping mum on details of that work -- perhaps to protect itself if the payment dispute ends up in court.

That might be an acceptable legal strategy, but we worry this is another wasteful county study that was long on promises and short on value. We sure hope the county's lower counter-offer isn't just a payment to make this problem go away. That would be an awful waste of nearly $100,000.

If Ameresco provided a service it should be paid, but commissioners should pay a sum equal to the value of those services. Don't be more than fair when it comes to putting bills on the taxpayers' tab.