“At the request of Terry Bernardo, Chair of the Legislature, Legislator Carl Belfiglio as Chairman of the Environmental Committee arrogantly rammed through a party line vote last Thursday, August 2, 2012 to get Requests for Proposals to sell the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency.”
The above paragraph is taken from the following press release:
Donaldson Urges Republicans to End the Dangerous “Shoot, Ready, Aim” approach to the UCRRA
At the request of Terry Bernardo, Chair of the Legislature, Legislator Carl Belfiglio as Chairman of the Environmental Committee arrogantly rammed through a party line vote last Thursday, August 2, 2012 to get Requests for Proposals to sell the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency.
“This was done either for foolish political reasons or out of total ignorance of the understanding of the relationship the County has with the UCRRA. This is yet another example of the inept and poor leadership demonstrated by the Republicans of the Ulster County Legislature. We need to explore solutions in a cooperative responsible manner”, said Minority Leader David Donaldson (Kingston).
“There are complex legal, financial and logistical questions that need answers prior to spending taxpayer dollars on a consultant”, advised Environmental Committee member Legislator Ken Wishnick (New Paltz). “How can a Request for Proposals be solicited for the sale of assets that are owned by a state created public benefit corporation, and not the county? The UCRRA’s transfer station in the Town of New Paltz is built on town owned property. Can a private company assume the right to operate there without town approval? If the UCRRA can be sold, the bondholders would have their interest payments changed from “tax free” to “taxable.” Might Bondholders oppose a sale and even sue Ulster County? Would this make it impossible to sell even if the county came up with all the $31 Million plus in principal and interest in advance? Since grant funds were used to construct the Materials Recovery Facility, how much money will the county need to refund the state if the UCRRA is sold?” asked Wishnick.
“I am appalled that the Legislative Chair and Committee Chair would blindside the committee and force through such a poorly thought out resolution. This proposal is utterly irresponsible”, stated Environmental Committee Deputy Chairperson, Legislator Tracey Bartels (Gardiner). “How will trash and recycling be environmentally managed if the UCRRA is sold? How does the county plan to address the fact that state law requires the DEC to pre-approve a sale as part of Ulster County’s Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan? Since the UCRRA is responsible for removing leachate and monitoring test wells at landfills located in the towns of Lloyd, New Paltz and Ulster until 2027, who will assume this responsibility? How many millions of dollars will taxpayers need to put aside for these and other oversight costs if the UCRRA is sold?” questioned Bartels.
Environmental Committee member and former UCRRA member, Legislator John Parete (Boiceville) stated, “This is what happens when a Committee Chair is over his head. The resolution is factually incorrect, misleading, incredibly premature and ill conceived. Why Legislator Belfiglio authored this, is beyond me. This irresponsible act may very well impact the UCRRA’s ability to conduct their business and negotiate contracts with municipalities and vendors. The UCRRA’s planning process is now frozen while the Republican Leadership fiddles. This may very likely cost the County taxpayer $1 Million or more in added net service fees.
Parete further stated, “We need to use common sense. According to the Town of Ulster Tax Assessor, Republican Legislator Jim Maloney, the value of the buildings and land are just $1.3 million. It seems to be magical thinking to believe that a private company would pay over $30 million for this property and limited assets”
The Deputy Chairman of the Finance Committee, Legislator Don Gregorius added “Ulster County’s contract with the UCRRA in Article VI, Section 6.02 Termination of Agreement states “the County shall have the right to terminate the Agreement on 360 days of written notice subject to… payment by the County to the Agency of an amount sufficient to defease (payback or make whole) the Bonds…” If a year’s written notice is required to sell, why wouldn’t the Environment Committee allow sufficient time to vet the issues? How does the county plan to pay the over $31 million to pay back the bonds?”
“Why hasn’t the Republican Leadership even consulted with the county’s procurement office to see if the Legislature has the authority to proceed with an RFP before initiating this process? Shoot, Ready, Aim is what we expect in comedy, not government. This display of arrogance and ignorance is very dangerous, both environmentally and financially, for the people of Ulster County” concluded Donaldson.
Contact: David Donaldson 845-399-8709