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Critics oppose landfill partnership

The Town of Colonie has faced some criticism recently in its search for a private partnership for the town-owned landfill, and the board on Thursday, March 24, passed a 22-day extension for requests for proposals, resulting in an April 22 deadline.

Executive Director of The Climate Registry Denise Sheehan, a former Colonie Planning Board chairwoman and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, said such a partnership would reduce the landfill's lifespan and possibly raise the rates for residents.

This is not going to be just a municipal landfill, it will be a commercial landfill, she said, adding that the private operator will be assuming the operational costs and closure costs. "The landfill will be filled up faster, will have its life shortened, and the impact on the time period will be greater. They [the private entity] will want to get as much money out of it as quickly as it can."

The request for proposal was sent out late last year seeking private companies to form a partnership with the town in operating the landfill.

Since most private solid waste companies would want to increase revenues and reduce the debt it will inherit through the RFP, Sheehan said the company would either have to get as much waste in as possible or raise the dumping rates for town residents.

The remaining life expectancy of the landfill is expected to be about 20 years, but Sheehan said it could be much shorter than that if a private company takes over.

"That could be as much as halved by filling it up quickly," she said. "Obviously they would need some permits and some approvals, but the town said they wouldn't object to something like that."

Rocky Ferraro, executive director of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission, said that a private company would be trying to make a profit as opposed to a government entity, which means it would run the landfill differently.

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