Discord seen s landfill debate drags on PDF Print E-mail
Written by By DEE BROWN, Staff Writer   
Tuesday, January 05, 1999

MALONE — Franklin County and its Solid Waste Management Authority are delaying making landfill decisions.

And that makes Art Iby furious.

Iby, a Westville town councilman, faithfully attends authority meetings to keep updated on the situation so he can let his landfill-host town know what's happening.

Is the county going to name Greenlands Inc. or Casella Waste Management to manage the regional landfill? Will the county and authority try to run it themselves?

After more than a year of talk, Iby wants to know what they are going to do.


Up until Monday, Iby was pretty patient. But during an executive session for discussion on bond refinancing, where he and the media were excluded, his patience wore thin.

"I'm sick and tired of what they're doing — the legislators and Solid Waste Board."

While the two boards delay, the tax base in his town is "falling right apart," he said.

Some legislators and authority members want to add a $50 tax to county homeowners and lower the tipping fee from $55 a ton, from $85, to make the operation viable. Some want to add $100.

For Iby, that would mean his town would be taking another "licking."

"All they are doing is running around like mice in a barrel, and we're not getting anything solved," he said.

Iby doesn't see how the landfill could be operated any better with the same board and management that they have.

"In five years, they haven't been able to run it. What makes them think that they're going to turn this all around and make it run the way it's supposed to run? I'm concerned about my town."

However, authority member Don Barney said they have been doing a good job running the landfill. The cash flow is better now than it's been in a year, he said.

Closed meetings

Some members of the two boards have disagreed on executive sessions in the past and have called for open sessions. Iby said the taxpayers should know what's going on.

"I'm just fed up with it. When's it going to stop? When are these people going to wake up and do what we have to do to this landfill and get it back on line the way it's supposed to be?"

Legislator Mark Wells (R-Fort Covington) was opposed to Monday's executive session.

After about 20 minutes, he left the closed meeting and told the media they were talking about the requests for proposals by the two companies and what they should do in the future, which are matters not allowed under Open Meetings Law exemptions.

"I made a motion (to open the session), and they just kept talking, so I just walked out."

Additional fee

During the open session, the two boards discussed adding a fee for homeowners to subsidize the landfill.

People in Paul Maroun's Tupper Lake district are against paying $100 more.

He said they would rather have it go out to requests for proposals from one of the two waste companies, "if everything can be guaranteed."

But, if there are not enough votes to accept one of the proposals, the authority would have to have a plan for waste disposal and may have to borrow from the county.

"I won't be able to support any tax dollars in the landfill because I think there are alternatives," Maroun said.

He will offer a resolution to support one of the proposals at the January authority meeting.

Wells said that accepting a proposal does not mean they are committed to that proposal. It means they can negotiate further with the company that has the best proposal.

Paid advice

Legislator Andy Barney (D-North Bangor) asked why they spent so much money on two consultants and didn't follow their advice.

The RFP counsel advised that all four proposals be rejected because they were "not in the best interest of Franklin County," said Barney.

The bond counsel, Mosher and Mosher, also advised them not to accept them because there were no guarantees that the $20 million in bonds would be paid.

"They know a lot more about this than we do," Barney said. "And we hired them to come up here and tell us what to do.

"We're sitting here debating it like a bunch of idiots, as far as I'm concerned, because we should've taken their advice right at the beginning."



Powered by Joomla!. Designed by: Free Joomla Themes, hosting. Valid XHTML and CSS.