The Town Board tonight agreed to lease operations of the Colonie landfill to California-based Waste Connections.
The vote was 6-1, with the board’s lone Republican, Daniel Dustin, voting “no.”
The 25-year lease will take effect as soon as Supervisor Paula Mahan signs the contract, said Assistant Town Attorney Jack Spath.
The board’s vote followed a 21⁄2 hour public hearing on the lease agreement at Town Hall on Loudon Road. Approximately 100 people attended with more than 15 speaking. Several were from the neighboring town of Halfmoon and urged the board to close the landfill, which they said creates odors, is unsightly and lowers their property values.
Denise Sheehan, the former commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation and a Republican challenging Mahan, a Democrat, for the supervisor’s position in November’s election, leveled several criticisms. She criticized the lack of transparency in the process leading up to the vote and said town residents remain confused about why the board wants to make the agreement.
Mahan said the board determined the town could not operate the landfill without incurring annual operating losses, which she said will reach $5.7 million after 20 years. She said a report by Moody’s Investors Service in June 2010 said the landfill fund has an operating surplus of $866,000 but that it has a cumulative deficit of $7.7 million. This deficit is in addition to a general town deficit of approximately $10 million.
Mahan said the town has in the past used the landfill income for general operating expenses rather than maintaining a fund to handle eventual closure and post-closure liabilities. The landfill has 12 years left of operation at its present rate of use.
Categories: Schenectady County