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OPINION: Avery responds to mailer received by Seneca Falls residents about financial future, landfill

Editor’s Note: This op-ed is a response to the mailer that Seneca Falls residents recently received from Kyle Black, District Manager of Seneca Meadows Landfill. Doug Avery is a member of Seneca Falls Town Council, and is up for re-election this fall. If you have a letter to the editor, op-ed, or other material you’d like published on send it to [email protected]. If you’d like to read the editorial it’s available by clicking here or here.

– Doug Avery, Seneca Falls Town Councilor

If you are a resident of Seneca Falls, you recently received a letter in the mail from Kyle Black, manager of the Seneca Meadows Landfill. Upon closer inspection, many inaccuracies become apparent:

I did not chair the budget committee. It was mistakenly reported that way by the Finger Lakes Times in the article that followed the July 26 budget workshop. The budget committee, its membership, and its recommendations, were primarily the work of Supervisor Mike Ferrara, and Kyle knows that. The committee developed 10 possible scenarios for the board to consider. The purpose of that budget workshop was to discuss these scenarios for the first time. It became immediately apparent that the scenario with the 18% tax increase had only one supporter – Supervisor Ferrara.

In his letter, Kyle criticizes me for saying that we’ll look at expenses before settling on a tax levy. He’s correct. I did say that, in response to an email from the FLT reporter writing the article. It boggles the mind that my assurance that the board would do due diligence before completing the budget process can be twisted into something sinister.

The letter goes on to assert that “Over and over again, Avery, DeLelys, and Churchill have led the efforts to increase taxes…” In fact, taxes in Seneca Falls have remained flat for several years, and actually decreased slightly in 2021. This is public record. There has been no repeated effort to raise taxes.

The letter refers to a study that was done at least five years ago, where experts suggested a 300% tax increase. The conclusion was that, at that time and with no spending cuts, it would take that much of a tax increase to replace the landfill revenue – dollar for dollar. The study was commissioned by a pro-landfill town administration and tailored to make that specific point. What Kyle doesn’t mention is that since then there have been at least five years of reasonable fiscal policy, with careful cuts to spending, and with no elimination of programs. The study is ancient history, had little basis in truth to begin with, and certainly doesn’t deserve a place in the current debate.

Seneca Falls will be positioned to thrive when the landfill closes at the end of 2025. Even now, the lion’s share of the landfill revenue goes to saving for the future and to making sure our infrastructure will be in the best possible condition by then. The Seneca County Board of Supervisors is moving toward a long-awaited solid waste plan. The town’s Waste Management Advisory Committee is working on recommendations as to our own portion of a future waste plan.

Facts matter. The truth matters. Come to a Town Board meeting and see.  We will be ready!!

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