By Nathan Mayberg
MONTICELLO May 17, 2005 On Thursday, Sullivan County legislators in the Executive Committee unanimously approved an additional $401,000 for the construction of Cell 6 at the county landfill.
That is on top of approximately $600,000 expended last year. The reason is the county began work on the cell before it had received the necessary permits from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
According to Harvey Smith, the Commissioner of General Services, the county started construction last year after receiving indications from the regional office of the DEC that a permit was to be issued, but the actual permit was not issued until last month.
The reasons for the delay included a large public outcry from the residents who live near the landfill and legal challenges by SPECS. The DEC required the county to accept a new odor control plan and litter control plan.
The construction company will have to re-lease and mobilize its equipment once again. Smith said there has been some erosion at the site, requiring some of the work to be redone. The original contract for Cell 6 construction was for approximately $4.6 million, but Smith estimated that cost overruns could now reach a million dollars over that estimate.
In addition, the legislators gave the go-ahead for $466,000 in county funds to be allocated to enlarging the retention basin at the landfill by 50 percent (it is about a half an acre now) to capture stormwater runoff from capped cells 2 and 3.
Managing Future Floods
The county also approved a flood management implementation plan by the countys planning department, estimated to cost $285,000 over three years. The funds will go to a GIS technician, an engineer technician, equipment, maintenance and other non-personnel costs.
The goal is to conduct stream restoration work in such high-risk flooding areas as the Beaverkill, Callicoon Creek, Pine Kill, Willowemoc and, if necessary, the Neversink River.
In addition, the department intends to conduct educational seminars and analyze local zoning to help prevent future flooding.
This is something we need to do, said Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Chris Cunningham. It will pay dividends.
Dam Under Repair
During the Public Safety Committee meeting, Richard Martinkovic, the Commissioner of Public Safety and Emergency Management, reported that 150 people have filed claims with FEMA, whose inspectors are currently based at Sullivan County Airport in White Lake. Some people have received checks already, he said.
As for the Swinging Bridge Reservoir, which caused a scare when a sinkhole was discovered by Mirant recently, Martinkovic said the company will continue to keep the water level lower than normal, as it repairs its tunnel and generator.
Those who use the reservoir for recreational purposes, will not have much water to work with for weeks, or even longer, said Martinkovic.
Windmill Program Coming
Back in Executive Committee, the county approved a resolution authorizing the Planning Department to apply for grants as part of its wind energy market assessment, which will be run on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis with local landowners interested in participating.
Advisory Board Debated
A legislative advisory board proposed by Cunningham has been opposed by a unified block of the four Republican legislators Leni Binder, Rodney Gaebel, Greg Goldstein and Jodi Goodman.
Goldstein opposed the measure as another layer of government. He was also concerned with the potential costs of a board, which might have to hire a secretary.
Cunningham defended the proposed board as one which would focus on the major issues. Hiatt also supported the new board, since he felt it would give legislators an opportunity to gain the input of the average voter. Legislator Kathleen LaBuda also expressed support and stated the board would have no expenses.
Republican Minority Leader Rodney Gaebel warned that the legislature could run into problems if it chose not to take the advice of such a board.
No action was taken on the measure.