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Town makes landfill case

Four public informational meetings have shown that Colonie residents seem to have a generally favorable view of the town entering a private partnership with Waste Connections, Inc. to run the landfill, but there have been some questions about how it will affect prices for dumping.

The final third and fourth meetings took place July 22 and 25, with a public hearing scheduled for Thursday, July 28.

The Wednesday, July 22, public informational meeting 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 raised objections to the landfill expanding, although Colonie Department of Public Works Commissioner Jack Cunningham assured them 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 Wednesday. Many feared they would jump, but Cunningham said they have been capped at the Consumer Price Index or at 3.5 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 desire 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 customers that a cap was placed on pickup, he said.

Waste Connections Vice President Scott Schreiber expanded on the explanation and said that the company doesn't have its own disposal locations in this region. His company has trouble competing with other companies that have landfills and transfer stations in New York and Pennsylvania.

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