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Legislative committee upset about lawsuit over landfill

February 25, 2016
By Jimmy McCarthy ( , Westfield Republican

MAYVILLE -Members of the Public Facilities Committee conveyed their displeasure Tuesday over a legal battle ensuing against the County Landfill expansion.

During the meeting in Mayville, members authorized the use of funds to defend a lawsuit brought forth by the town of Ellery that challenges the environmental review of the landfill expansion in Ellery. The town recently filed the lawsuit against the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Chautauqua County to invalidate the permitting and the SEQR. The case will likely be heard in April, according to County Attorney Steve Abdella.

Committee member Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia, said the lawsuit will cost the taxpayers of Chautauqua County money in order to proceed with the project. Funds to cover legal costs could come from the operational fund or the landfill project fund.

"I find it just a total shame that the town of Ellery is opposing us with this landfill," Scudder said. "I think it's a shame that we have to do this."

Fellow committee members agreed with Scudder's comments.

"I think it's a travesty that we have to do this," said Vice Chairman David Wilfong, R-Jamestown. "But I think moving forward, we feel strong with the (environmental) report. I think it's important we stand up for the taxpayers of Chautauqua County."

Charles Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, said the lawsuit is "very serious."

"The ones who are going to pay for this are the taxpayers of the county because now we're incurring legal fees and other fees," he said. "We have many other issues facing us. Now we have to focus our attention on this."

Work to add new cells to the landfill began in 2010 when the county filed an application to the DEC. Construction of new cells on county-owned land is looking to extend the life of the landfill by 20 years. The landfill takes in out-of-county waste and is permitted to accept 408,000 tons of waste annually.

In other news, the committee took the final steps toward establishing the North Chautauqua County Water District. Members carried resolutions to erect the district and appoint an administrative board. A resolution authorizing $11,750,000 in bonds also garnered approval.

"This is absolutely essential. It's very interesting to note that for the new manufacturing facility in Dunkirk bringing 900 jobs, one of the key players was infrastructure," said County Executive Vince Horrigan. "There was discussion about this water district because it's not just for the plant, but it's also for housing and other things they're interested in."

Horrigan said the county will conduct a RFP for the design and construction phase where it will then go out for bid. The administrative board will determine the firm for the project in hopes to start installing pipes during the spring. Pipes will be installed along Routes 5 and 20 where residents in the towns of Sheridan, Dunkirk, Portland and a portion of Pomfret will be serviced along with the village of Brocton and North County Industrial Water District.



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