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Legislature asks for more review

SCHUYLER COUNTY--Despite the strong objections of Legislator David Reed, the Schuyler County Legislature passed a resolution 7-1 seeking more state review and additional information pertaining to state permits relating to the construction of a planned solid waste recovery facility during the Tuesday, Oct. 13 legislative meeting. Despite seeking increased oversight and asking for permits to be refiled, County Administrator Tim O'Hearn said the legislature has no official position regarding the construction of the facility in Cayuta.
"The legislature sees a number of things that need to be corrected regarding the application, and once that is corrected and resubmitted the legislature will defer to the judgment of the Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the project," O'Hearn said.
While acknowledging the inaccuracies in the current application are small, O'Hearn said it is important the application be withdrawn and resubmitted with the correct information.
"We would like more DEC oversight... we are asking the DEC to hold off on acting on the application," O'Hearn said.
O'Hearn added that he thought the resolution, which has no official power regarding how the state receives the application for the plant, balances the fine line of executing oversight over a project that has wide-ranging implications while allowing for local municipalities to execute their right to home rule.
"I think we found that balance with the resolution," O'Hearn said.
Reed vehemently disagreed with that notion, calling the resolution governmental overreach caused by liberal residents and politicians.
"Liberals who have moved into this area and don't understand that Cayuta is not part of the Seneca Lake watershed," Reed said.
Reed also singled out legislators Michael Lausell and Mark Rondinardo for, "sticking their noses into my district's business."
Saying the resolution has no teeth, Reed said the resolution is another in a long line of attempts to derail the Cayuta project.
"What bothers me most about this project is that everyone has been screaming for years about recycling, and now we have this unique project for New York state that will have less stuff going to the landfill and people have a problem with it," Reed said.
Also during the meeting, the board voted to finalize a mutually-agreed upon process with employees that will freeze all county employee wages for 2021.
"This signifies achieving 100 percent of county employees accepting a wage freeze for 2021 to help alleviate the fiscal constraints we are under," O'Hearn said. "All of our staff will be forgoing salary increases for 2021 and as a result, the tax levy will be reduced and the tax rate will be reduced for the ninth year in a row."
O'Hearn said he was proud of how employees handled the county's financial issues.
"This signifies everyone on the same page, doesn't happen often," O'Hearn said.

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