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Dan Hust | Democrat

THE SECOND MEETING of the Sullivan County Council of Governments took place at the County Government Center on May 18. Three of the six villages and 11 of the 15 townships were represented, along with five of the nine county legislators. Topics of countywide interests are discussed at the meetings, which are open to the public.

Countywide, They Talk Trash

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — May 25, 2007 – It could be called as rare as an alignment of the planets.
With 14 representatives of local governments – comprising 11 of Sullivan County’s 15 townships and 3 of its 6 incorporated villages – and 5 of the 9 county legislators in attendance, Friday’s meeting of the Sullivan County Council of Governments proved to be an education for all.
Sullivan County Legislature Chair Chris Cunningham’s State of the County Address promise to bring local governments together on issues of countywide importance bore fruit that day in what was actually the second meeting of this new council.
Attendees heard updates on the landfill and recycling from Division of Public Works Commissioner Bob Meyer, Solid Waste Director John Kehlenbeck and Recycling Coordinator Bill Cutler.
They were also informed of the county’s beautification initiatives by Parks and Recreation Director Kristen Porter and Sullivan Renaissance Program Coordinator Glenn Pontier.
Most importantly of all, these mayors, supervisors and board trustees had a chance to discuss issues of concern directly with county officials.
Considering the presentations that morning, it’s no surprise the conversation focused on trash.
Chief among the concerns was the budget-related lack of acceptance of commercially-generated trash at the landfill and its transfer stations on a day – Saturday – that had been a mainstay for some users.
Rockland Supervisor Pat Pomeroy said her town had to shut down its spring cleanup early because of that prohibition, and Lumberland Supervisor John LiGreci asked legislators to reconsider. Legislator Jodi Goodman agreed that keeping the dumping stations open on both Saturdays and Sundays would help, citing the inability of some religious groups to conduct such activities on one or the other of those days.
Fallsburg Supervisor Steve Levine thought merging tire amnesty with townships’ specific Litterpluck days would be advantageous, while Liberty Mayor William “Rube” Smith pushed for a clear bag policy, rather than allowing black bags to hide unknown, likely unrecycled materials.
Highland Highway Superintendent Norm Sutherland advocated the use of local inmates to conduct roadside litter removal to take that burden off highway departments (and their strapped budgets). Levine said it had worked well for Fallsburg, where prisoners collected 500 bags last year alone, not counting tires.
Meyer and Kehlenbeck promised to look into the issues and also set the record straight, correcting those who mistakenly thought roadside litter picked up by municipalities or Adopt-a-Road members could not be dropped off at the landfill for free.
And per Liberty Supervisor Frank DeMayo’s suggestion, Cunningham plans to invite area school districts to the next council meeting to discuss ways to involve the county’s children in cleanup efforts.
The Sullivan County Council of Governments will next meet on Friday, June 15 at 11 a.m. in the Legislative Hearing Room at the Government Center in Monticello. All are welcome.

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