Is it time for a new deal in Seneca Falls?
Documents outlining a new host agreement between the Town of Seneca Falls and Seneca Meadows Landfill show major changes from the 2007 agreement currently in place.
It assumes the passing of a new local law, which would keep Seneca Meadows operating through the end of 2037.
It would all be set off by the passing of a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting, which is scheduled for the Seneca Falls Community Center at 5:45 pm.
In the agreement, the Town would receive $3.5 million upon adoption. The new agreement would have payments of no less than $5 million annually coming to the Town, which would match a 5.5 percent share of the landfill’s gross revenues.
If the Town’s 5.5 percent share of gross revenues exceeds $5 million, then a secondary payment would have to be made to the Town at the start of the following year.
The agreement would increase the 5.5 percent marker to 6 percent in 2022; and then 6.25 percent in 2025. By 2028, the baseline annual payment would hit 6.5 percent of gross revenues. These percentages would work as a baseline in the new agreement.
Supervisor Greg Lazzaro said the following in an emailed statement after news broke that a deal could be coming:
“The MOU that was posted on FingerLakes1 today is a proposed agreement that will bring $100,000,000 into The Town of Seneca Falls over the next 19 years. This will give The Town economic stability and viability, while bringing economic development into the community. This will also show Seneca Falls to be business friendly. This is a private-public partnership which will strengthen Seneca Falls. The alternative will bring deep cuts to our programs and services, and an increase in taxes. It is a financial agreement that the Town of Seneca Falls needs to embrace.”
The Town would also be compensated by Seneca Meadows, up to $100,000 for legal and engineering fees caused by landfill-operation related issues.
The agreement sets a closure date for 2037, at which point the landfill says it would stop accepting solid waste. It also notes that DEC permit requests would be limited to the timeline between present day and 2037.
Another major change in the agreement would be the promise to ‘not challenge’ a new local law, which would replace the one passed by the Town Board in 2016 – setting closure of the landfill on December 31, 2025.
All three board members, who voted for Local Law #3 of 2016 – said they were uncomfortable with the new deal, and didn’t see supporting it in their future. Mostly due to the fact that it extends the life of the landfill 12 years beyond the current closure date.
The new local law would use the updated host agreement as its guideline, and assume a closure date of 2037.
Deputy Supervisor Lou Ferrara, responded to allegations that he went behind the Board’s back to negotiate an updated host agreement:
“The full-board met over a month ago and gave the Attorney’s permission to negotiate with Seneca Meadows. In those negotiations, the proposed agreement was written. Anyone who would like to speak with me can call to schedule a meeting.”
The host agreement also promises that the current Town Board will not oppose infilling operations south of Salcman Road. This is the site of the former Tantalo landfill.
Officials have not commented on the document’s authenticity, and denied the possibility that the item would be on Tuesday’s agenda.