To the Editor:
At a recent Albany Common Council General Services Committee meeting concerning the expansion of the Rapp Road landfill, three issues of concern were raised: the city hot line phone number established to report complaints about the smell emanating from the landfill; the little monetary reward the city realizes from the methane-to-energy project; and the lack of funding by the city to promote the three R’s of conservation -- reduction, reuse and recycling.
The General Services Committee was informed that the hot line number for people to call regarding odors at the landfill was not published on either the landfill Web site or the official city Web site. Even more disturbing, it was reported that only those people in attendance at two specific “neighborhood” meetings were given the number -- 453-8288.
By keeping this hot line number out of the public domain, the city is doing a disservice to its residents and anyone else who might want to report an odor problem from the landfill.
The second issue that arose concerns the small amount of money Albany makes from the methane-to-energy program compared to our neighbor, the Town of Colonie landfill.
Albany realized a little more than $43,000 from its methane project in 2006. Meanwhile, Colonie received more than $700,000 from its project.
Why the disparity between the two landfills, especially given the fact that the Albany landfill is about three times larger than the Colonie facility?
The third issue concerns the lack of a program by the City of Albany to educate city residents on how to reduce, reuse and recycle.
The General Services Committee was told that only $15,000 was budgeted for reduce, reuse and recycle efforts, or about 16 cents per city resident.
This lack of funding is not the way to go about educating the populace on how to keep reusable items out of the waste stream and out of the landfill. The less stuff dumped in the landfill, the longer the life of the landfill.
These three issues highlight the city’s inability to properly manage the landfill. What are the goals of the city’s solid waste management plan? Do we even have a plan?
What percentage of the overall waste are city residents and commercial establishments recycling?
Why are only a chosen few allowed access to the odor-reporting hotline number? Why is the city failing to take full advantage of the methane-to-energy program to the extent that other municipalities have?
These questions must be answered before the state Department of Environmental Conservation considers approving the proposed expansion of the Rapp Road landfill.
Common Council Member ,First Ward, Albany