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Residents continue to voice landfill concerns

Residents expressed concern over the possible expansion of the town's landfill as a result of a private partnership with Waste Connections, Inc., as well as how much waste could come from other municipalities.

It was the third round for the Town of Colonie in explaining its findings from the Landfill Exploratory Committee, but it was the first time the public was able to hear from representatives of Waste Connections, Inc. Many spoke with criticisms and objections to the landfill expanding, though Colonie Department of Public Works Commissioner Jack Cunningham assured there was no permit to do so. Waste Connections, Inc. CEO Ron Mittelstaedt confirmed that his company was not contemplating expansion and that was the decision of the town.

The issue of dumping and pickup rates took the main stage as well last night. Many feared they would jump, but Cunningham said they have been capped at the Consumer Price Index or at 3 percent. He added that the gate rate for residents will stay the same until April 2012 and then there may possibly be a rate increase but no greater than 5 percent.

Waste Connection's thirst to stay competitive in the solid waste business was the reason it was so aggressive in obtaining a contract with Colonie, said Mittelstaedt, and the town used that to its advantage.

The town used that leverage to make sure for residential customer that a cap was placed on pickup, he said.

Resident Bob Ryan expressed his concern over the imminent closure of the City of Albany landfill and that it might bring waste to Colonie. Cunningham could not give a definite answer and said that all he knows is the lifespan of the landfill.

"The City of Albany landfill has about a 7 year permitted life left to it," he said. "How it is operated after that point, there are different ideas floating around, but it's a question I can't answer."

There will be another meeting on Monday, July 25, at 7 p.m., at the Village of Colonie's Village Hall. Residents will have another chance to voice their opinion on the contract that is still being negotiated. There will also be a public hearing on Thursday, July 28, at 7 p.m., during the town's regularly scheduled board meeting.""

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