On Tuesday the Seneca County Board of Supervisors held their regularly scheduled meeting for March, taking what some felt was a ‘significant’ step in opposing the proposed Circular enerG incinerator in Romulus.
Multiple speakers at the session railed against the proposed facility, pointing out potential threats to a nearby school, the environment, and local tourism economy.
David Lock, a Fayette resident thanked the supervisors for even considering a vote for a resolution opposing it. Due to the process of approval, the resolution is merely symbolic, but by passing it as they did on Tuesday, the board joins a growing list of municipal entities aligned against the project.
“The Siting Board rules on the side of local law and home rule,” he recounted from a conversation had with a lawyer in Albany. “Oppose out of respect for the Finger Lakes, for the children who attend Romulus schools,” he explained. “Like other elected officials have said, we’ve done our share of taking trash in the Finger Lakes.”
Rick Conley, another Seneca County resident asked the supervisors to ‘really think about’ the facility being proposed on the former Seneca Army Depot property. “The developer has changed his story every time he’s come up,” Conley said. “The other towns said they don’t want this. You need to go along with that. If there are enough towns and organizations to go against it, [Assembly Minority Leader] Brian Kolb says they won’t go that direction.” He concluded, “Let’s nix it. We don’t need the extra traffic, or pollution.”
The supervisors would ultimately pass the resolution opposing the incinerator unanimously. Despite debate at last month’s committee session, no supervisor on the board vocalized any support for the proposed facility.
In other action on Tuesday:
– In a Rule 29 proceeding at the end of the session, the board began the process of ‘rejuvenating’ the former County Road 135, which ran directly through the former Seneca Army Depot property. When the U.S. government took the land for the depot – the road was closed. Supervisor David Kaiser (R-Romulus) voted against the motion, which only would move as far as obtaining a professional engineering report for design of the ‘new’ County Road 135.
– A local law was adopted regarding tax exemptions on solar energy. Supervisor Ralph Lott (R-Seneca Falls) abstained from voting, while Supervisor Kaiser voted against. The resolution passed, which means adoption of the local law.
– A motion that drew some of the harshest debate of the night had to do with ongoing issues at three wastewater treatment plants in Seneca County. A resolution to send out a ‘Request for Proposal’ was ultimately passed, but not in the form Seneca County Manager John Sheppard had originally visioned. He attempted to seek approval of a Design, Build, and Operate process, which would have allowed the County to unify those facilities. However, questions about ownership, and overall cost were called into question. The motion passed with Supervisor Bob Hayssen (R-Varick), Supervisor Lisa Hochadel (D-Waterloo), and Supervisor Kaiser opposing.
– Supervisor Hayssen would be the sole opposing vote on a resolution, which would subdivide a triangular piece of property next to the current Mental Health building. The long-term plan for the property will be to seek out an agreement with RTS to have a permanent transportation hub on-site.
– A resolution to accept Substance Use Disorder funding for jail-based treatment passed unanimously.
– Tracy VanVleck was appointed as Director of Human Services. Her five-year term will begin immediately after the retirement of former-director Charles Schillaci. That measured passed unanimously with no opposition.
– A long-debated ‘odor complaint’ system was finally defeated by the full-board at Tuesday’s meeting. While the resolution would not direct the County to administer or ‘create’ such a portal – it would have ‘suggested’ that the Town of Seneca Falls develop such an odor complaint system for those reported about Seneca Meadows Landfill. The vote fell down party lines, as the only two supporters of the measure were Democratic Supervisors Lorenzetti and Hochadel.
– Prior to the start of Tuesday’s session, the Republican Caucus met to discuss an undisclosed matter. Republican supervisors did not comment on the purpose or intent of the caucus session.