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Life beyond landfill: Ontario County looks beyond 2028

The operation and management lease of the Ontario County Landfill by Casella Waste Services is scheduled to end in 2028.

But county officials want to start making plans for that day now.

The Board of Supervisors Planning & Environmental Quality Committee voted 4-1 Monday to approve a motion calling for presentation of a draft strategic plan no later than Sept. 12. The motion will go to the full board for a final vote.

Voting for the motion were committee Chairwoman Kristine Singer, R-Canadice; Mark Venuti, D-town of Geneva; Ted Bateman, R-Hopewell; and Fred Lightfoote, R-Gorham. Opposed was Lou Guard, D-city of Geneva.

Committee member Andrew Wickham, R-Seneca, was present by remote device and could not vote, but he expressed support for the motion. Committee member Tamara Hicks, R-Naples, was absent.

The resolution endorses a “call to action” to develop a strategic plan for the new Department of Sustainability and Solid Waste Management “that sets forth a vision and pathway forward to ensure a comprehensive approach toward solid waste management and continued environmental stewardship throughout Ontario County.”

It resolves that a strategic plan for the department shall be developed with consideration of the ongoing landflil operations, the expiration of the maintenance and operation lease and the implementation of goals and objectives within the county’s Solid Waste Management Plan.

The plan will establish goals and objectives for the years remaining before the lease expiration to assess community needs, create programs and/or infrastructure, educate residents and seek to change behavior in order to move the collective focus toward waste reduction, recycling and reuse.

It calls for all participants in the strategic planning process to “commit to the sense of urgency necessary to the development and implementation of comprehensive goals and objectives required to effectively address these critical issues throughout Ontario County.”

“There will be special focus groups formed and some of you will be asked to serve on them. The end of our landfill lease will have a big impact,” Singer said. “Some people will be happy it is closing, but the important thing is we have to be prepared and ready when it closes.”

She said the committee will meet in special session April 24 to discuss the landfill further.

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