Officially, the Town Board opposes the dump proposal. But it hasn't exercised is legitimate powers to do anything about it.
In 2000, Larry Justus campaigned successfully on his opposition to the dump proposal and was elected Town Supervisor. However, Justus mysteriously resigned just before the regular April board meeting at which a new, more restrictive landfill law was to be acted on. The new law was enacted by a unanimous vote of the remaining four-member board in June, 2000. The following October, under threat of an IWS lawsuit many outside legal observers found highly unlikely to succeed, the board later caved in, repealing portions of June law. (Download the October, 2000 law.)
Prior to acting in 2000, the town asked the New York State Department of State whether the town had the authority to enact the first amendment, which makes the local waste law much more stringent. The Department of State responds that the town is indeed authorized to amend the waste law with Amendment No. 1, but cautions that the royalty fees provided in the law may not be legal, since they are much higher than can be justified by the town's work administering the local permit. (Download the opinion.)
The Town's engineers have advised the Board it is doubtful IWS can construct a safe landfill of the massive size proposed on a hillside site with a 30 percent slope. However, present Town Supervisor Fritz Zuech makes a living dumping residential septage, which under the Town's contract with IWS he may do for free at the proposed landfill. (Download Farmersville's contract with IWS.)
Zuech approached the Village of Franklinville in January, 2005, with a proposal for a sludge dewatering plant, because sludge can be dumped in a landfill only if it is reduced to 20% solids. The free dumping provision in the IWS contract with his town will be very lucrative for Zuech. Franklinville said no to Zuech, and we understand he is now building his plant in Farmersville.
The Town Board should repeal its local landfill law entirely. Mr. Zuech should recuse himself from all landfill-related matters, because he has a conflict of interest.
On March 22, 2000, the County passed a new, tough landfill regulation. (For a copy, click here, or write or e-mail us.) But that regulation has no effect on Farmersville so long as the town has its own local landfill law. The Town should step aside and let the county take responsibility for the review. That would be the effect of a simply repealing its local landfill law.
Instead, some in Farmersville have spread the rumor that the county would take the land or permit a landfill in Farmersville if had the power. That makes no sense in the face of the hundreds of thousands the county has already spent to fight the dump. Concerned citizens need to support their county legislator on this issue.