By RICK REMSNYDER
Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (UCRRA) Executive Director Greg Ollivier told a packed crowd at the Town of Plattekill’s March 15 Town Board meeting that no decision had been made regarding the siting of a county landfill anywhere in Ulster County.
He told the standing room only crowd at the town hall that an UCRRA-commissioned report by HydroQuest, which is still on the homepage of the UCRRA website, had been dismissed by agency officials. That report identified two sites in Plattekill as the only suitable locations for a county landfill in Ulster County.
Ollivier, who took over his position five months ago and purchased a home near one of the proposed landfill sites in the Town of Plattekill, said that at the recommendation of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the agency had a study done several years ago to look at the possibility of having a landfill in the county.
“I never read the report (by HydroQuest) until it was misreported in the newspaper that we had decided on putting a landfill somewhere in the county,” Ollivier said referring to a published report by a local daily newspaper. “I was told when I showed up, that yes there was a study done, but in the end, the (UCRRA) board decided not to take any action with that study. I think one or two individual board members might have looked at it, but as a board they never reviewed it. It was set aside and not considered.”
Ollivier said UCRRA is awaiting the results from an informational RFP it issued to conduct a landfill feasibility study for sites anywhere in Ulster County.
Currently, Ulster County is shipping its waste to a landfill 238 miles away at Seneca Falls.
“Nothing that we are doing is aimed directly at this part of the county,” Ollivier said.
Ollivier fielded questions from town residents for about 90 minutes. All voiced their opposition to having a landfill in the Town of Plattekill.
Though Ollivier continually maintained no decision had been made, Ulster County Legislator Kevin Roberts, who represents Plattekill, wasn’t convinced.
“The minutes show from the Resource Recovery that they’re in cahoots with this report,” Roberts said. “Resource Recovery has also been in cahoots with the DEC. Resource Recovery hid this report not only from you guys but from me. We must stand together and fight this.”
Roberts said he planned to present a resolution opposing a landfill in Plattekill in an upcoming legislature meeting.
Town resident Anthony Covino said he gave Ollivier credit for showing up in front of town residents who were angered over possibly having a landfill in their backyard.
“They made you the sacrificial lamb,” Covino said. “There’s nothing you’re going to say up there tonight that is going to satisfy anybody in this room unless you said it’s not going to happen.”
“I’m in a no-win situation,” Ollivier conceded.
In other news, the board approved spending $225,000 to cover the cost of the culvert pipe replacement and paving on Huckleberry Turnpike.
According to the resolution authorizing the payment from the highway department budget, the funding will cover the cost of preliminary engineering, right-of-way incidentals and acquisition and construction work.
The project is eligible for funding under a New York State Program administered by the New York State Department of Transportation, according to the resolution.
A public hearing was set for April 5 to consider tax exemptions for firefighters and EMS personnel.
New police hire
The board also approved the hiring of police officer James Hollenbeck, who is currently a police officer for the Town of Cornwall.
Hollenbeck, a Clintondale resident, is also the operations manager for Hollenbeck Pest Control in New Windsor.
The recommendation was made by outgoing Police Chief Joseph Ryan, who appeared before the board for the final time before his resignation was scheduled for March 17.
Although Ryan served 16 years as the police chief and was with the town police force since 1996, no mention was made of Ryan’s pending resignation at the board meeting.