Court rejects landfill lawsuit appeal

Town says it has spent $40k fighting two-year old lawsuit

— A court sided with the Town of Colonie earlier this month in an appeal of a lawsuit that had been leveled by Albany County Comptroller Michael Conners and other residents challenging the town’s landfill operating agreement.

The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court dismissed the appeal on July 3, allowing Capital Region Landfills, Inc., part of Waste Connections, Inc., to continue running the landfill. Conners and the other parties said they believed the operating agreement between the two parties was in fact a lease agreement, but the court ruled that claim was “without merit.”

The court upheld a state Supreme Court decision, ruling the agreement “neither divests the town of absolute possession and control over the landfill nor grants such rights exclusively to CRL.” The town still has significant control over the landfill, with unlimited rights to enter the property at any reasonable times, the court found. The town can “operate the landfill in the event of CRL’s failure to do so in conformity with the agreement,” the ruling stated.

Conners said the plaintiffs have until Aug. 5 to decide whether they will file another appeal. Conners said he would like to make an appeal and will discuss it further with his attorney, Sal Ferlazzo, and the other parties. He said handing over the landfill to Waste Connections, Inc., was a one-shot deal that may have helped the town initially with a cash infusion for a few years, but there will still be financial issues the town has to deal with.

“Clearly, the Town of Colonie has financial difficulties. The short term gain to sell the landfill I don’t think was in the best interest to the people in the Town of Colonie,” Conners said.

Conners pointed to the New York State Comptroller’s recent report citing Colonie as one of the most fiscally stressed municipalities in the state. Town Supervisor Paula Mahan said the town is in its sixth year of a 10-year plan to get Colonie back on its feet financially and is moving in the right direction.

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