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County Changes Town
Cleanup Regulations

By John Emerson
MONTICELLO — February 22, 2000 -- Towns that took advantage of free dumping at the county landfill for spring and fall cleanup programs are going to have to take another look at how they go about their cleanup programs – now that the county has changed the program.
Thursday, legislators approved a resolution establishing what amounts to new parameters for town and county cleanup programs. The 7-2 vote on the issue did not come until after a failed attempt by Legislator Chris Cunningham to table the matter for additional investigation.
Cunningham and Legislator Steve Kurlander eventually voted against the adoption of the new plan.
Technically, the county has increased the annual allotment of free dumping space at the landfill by 200 tons, said County Manager Jonathan Drapkin. This new allotment, however, includes a substantial portion that must be used for construction and demolition debris that results from removing condemned buildings. The new agreement reduces the amount of general trash that normally finds its way into town dumpsters or alongside roadways, waiting for pickup during cleanup weeks.
“I think what this does is send the wrong message and a bad message to the towns that are using this program well,” Cunningham said about the reduced tonnage available for general cleanup. “I think we need to take a closer look at what we’re doing here.”
During the legislature’s first term, the county adopted the so-called “Lander Initiative,” which allowed towns to remove unsightly and dangerous buildings and dump the debris at the landfill without charge.
The program was well received among several towns and was heavily used.
Last year, the Lander Initiative was curtailed. Drapkin said he revised the program to help meet the requests of many towns asking if they could use any excess tonnage that was available after their cleanups to dump building materials. He said a review of the dumping habits among the county’s 15 towns indicated that such a use would allow the county to provide better service. He also said that the patterns indicated a continuing need for a spring cleanup program, but fall cleanups were less well used.

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