But Legislature Chairwoman Terry Bernardo, a Republican, accused County Executive Mike Hein and other Democrats of sandbagging a bipartisan effort last week to establish a legislative commission to examine three possible options.Sandbagging, typically, is a deceptive practice in which someone plays a game in a manner below their real playing ability in order to goad an opponent into raising the betting stakes. It can also involve intentionally holding back information from someone in such a manner that they are compelled to make a bad decision because they don't have all the facts. Though I suppose that Bernardo simply meant that Hein was being mean to her, which is also an accepted usage of the term. If so, then here's a suggestion, Terry: grow a thicker skin if you want to play at this level.
Accusing Democrats of practicing "petty political games," Bernardo said that despite getting "almost miraculous" cooperation between Democratic and Republican legislators, a telephone campaign by Hein and other Democrats essentially killed the commission.
"I held out an olive branch and they beat me with it," she said Tuesday.
Whining about Mike Hein being mean isn't going to do anything when it comes to fixing the situation with the UCRRA, so maybe Bernardo and her fellow legislators should take Hein's (very reasonable) chiding to heart and get busy.
And maybe this is sinking in. Patricia Doxey's article in today's Freeman says that Bernardo now wants to implement flow control while the legislature decides whether to, or if it legally can, sell the agency:
Ulster County Legislature Chairwoman Terry Bernardo said implementing flow control laws in the short term could protect county taxpayers from a potential multimillion-dollar subsidy of the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency in the upcoming year.I personally like the idea of flow control for the simple reason that it will gives us the means to do exactly what it says it will do: control and regulate our refuse stream while we bring in some much-needed revenue. On the other hand, those who want to sell the agency would cite the one-time windfall the county would receive for selling the UCRRA. I suppose another option, which apparently hasn't been discussed, would be to license a third-party company to do the actual work, which would of course involve legislative oversight, but would also give the county a continuing source of revenue.
Bernardo, R-Accord, said the majority of the Republicans who control the Legislature still want to investigate selling the agency’s assets, but said implementing flow control while they investigate whether a sale is feasible “may be the way to go.”
The least attractive option is to sell the UCRRA, for the simple reason that, if it were run properly, it would be a real asset to the community, in both a quality-of-life and fiscal sense. And once you sell a public asset, it's gone forever.
On a positive note, the UCRRA has made at least one major step forward, which is today outlined by the Freeman's Bill Kemble:
Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency officials on Wednesday dumped a ceremonial first load of fermenting food scraps on the agency’s new compost pile.Who says government never does anything right?
The unveiling of a 40-by-100-foot composting system was celebrated by about 50 agency employees, Ulster County officials, state Department of Environmental Conservation representatives and private groups.
“It’s good for the environment,” trash agency Executive Director Tim Rose said. “We’ll be taking a lot of organics out of the waste stream and diverting them here, where they can be composted and put to beneficial use.”
Material accepted through the program includes food waste, yard trimmings, and uncoated paper products such as paper towels and napkins. Bergkamp said fees will be $50 per ton, a 50 percent reduction, for program participants. Officials expect business owners will see a reduction in cost because haulers will be charged only $50 per ton for composting material instead of regular rates that go up to $100 per ton for solid waste items.