OAKLAND — Garrett County officials said Tuesday an agreement with Maryland Environmental Service to operate the county’s water and wastewater treatment plants will save the county about $100,000 in the first year.
The deal, which takes effect Aug. 5, will realize lower costs through more efficiency in staffing and vehicles, and by transferring responsibility for fleet vehicle operations to MES, according to a news release form County Administrator Kevin Null.
As a result of the contract, Garrett County will reduce the county’s labor force by 13 positions in the Utilities-Operations Department.
“The county has worked with MES to ensure that any affected employees will have the opportunity to apply with preferential consideration for similar positions with MES, or to apply for other positions that may be open within the county or throughout MES’ extensive area wide operations,” according to the release.
MES was tasked by Garrett County, over many months, to identify ways to increase efficiency and streamline operations within the county water and wastewater programs. MES submitted a proposal that allows the county to shift the responsibility of providing day-to-day service and operations to MES.
“MES’ unique not-for-profit structure will enable the state-owned environmental organization to operate water and wastewater services in Garrett County with greater cost efficiency while continuing to provide a high level of quality and service to county residents,” according to the release. “Garrett County will retain the necessary control and oversight of water and wastewater management functions.”
Established in 1970, MES operates more than 1,000 environmental projects and services across Maryland and the mid-Atlantic region and employs over 840.