By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO April 9, 2004 The options for the Sullivan County Landfill and their consequences were laid out by Sullivan County Manager Dan Briggs yesterday in a meeting of the Sullivan County Legislatures Public Works Committee.
The remaining cells (4 and 5) have about 100,000 to 200,000 available tons, according to Briggs. Briggs said that the county would need to limit its intake of waste in order for the landfill to be utilized for another year.
In order to do so, Briggs suggested the termination or modification of contracts with haulers and municipalities, or an increase in tipping fees.
The county currently is importing trash from outside municipalities primarily Rockland County, said Briggs. Municipalities and haulers from outside the county pay approximately $11 less per ton than those from inside the county, said Commissioner of General Services Harvey Smith.
If 100,000 tons of garbage a year were brought to the landfill, the county would garner approximately $5.5 million annually, said Briggs. However, operations and maintenance are projected to be at least $4.1 million this year. Debt service and reserves for closure and monitoring are expected to cost $3.9 million.
Construction for Cell 6, if approved by the DEC, will cost $6 million. Cell 6 would allow for 200,000 tons of waste. If the county limited the amount of waste dumped to 100,000 tons, the combination of cells 4, 5 and 6 would give the county about four more years to operate the landfill, Briggs explained.
Cell 6 would return $15 million to the county, but, said Briggs, the county will still lose $3 million every year the landfill is open for the next four years.
The countys plan to construct Phase Two of the landfill could add 20 more years to the operation of the dump, he explained. The construction, encompassing more than 30 acres, would cost approximately $40 million. The resulting revenues, said Briggs, would enable the landfill to "sustain itself financially."
If Cell 6 expansion is not permitted, the county would have to close all its transfer stations. At least 30 direct landfill jobs would be lost. Town cleanup initiatives, Litterpluck, the Dilapidated Building Removal program and Adopt-a-Road would also have to be discontinued, added Briggs.
Capping cells 4 and 5 would cost the county $10 million and $7.5 million in monitoring fees over the next 30 years, he said.
Finally, Briggs estimated that there would be an approximately 15 percent property tax increase to county residents based on the $3 million of lost revenue to the general fund and ongoing debt service for the landfill.
Although press deadlines prevented the Democrat from gaining comment from each legislator, District 9 Legislator Sam Wohl who represents the residents living around the landfill in Monticello published a press release yesterday detailing his thoughts on the matter.
I am calling for the immediate cancellation of the Royal Carting contract to mitigate the tonnage imported into the . . . landfill. Furthermore, Im demanding that all importation contracts, including our agreement with Rockland County, be reviewed to see where we can cut any out-of-county garbage coming into Sullivan County.
I want to reduce the amount of garbage coming to our landfill, Wohl continued. If that means eliminating construction and demolition debris, raising tipping fees for importers, or cancelling and restructuring current contracts, it will work toward the day that Sullivan County is out of the garbage business.
Meanwhile, Kathleen LaBuda, chairperson of the Public Works Committee, stated that the "county has been working hard to address the odor and litter control at the landfill."
She cited a few of the initiatives taken in the past several months, including the hiring of engineers to monitor and control the emissions of gas from the landfill.
A fourth flare station was set up to reduce the odors. A newly installed pump station, while releasing gas in the short term, is expected to control more gas in the future. A backup generator has been put online to prevent power outages.
And 1,000 feet of 25-foot-tall litter fencing was installed for litter control, said LaBuda.
"We are not finished dealing with this issue," she cautioned.
An issues conference is set for April 15 and will likely include representation of nearly every municipality in the county.