Village hears Greenidge concerns
WATKINS GLEN--Several members of the public and local conservation advocates spoke March 16 at the Watkins Glen village meeting in hopes of convincing the board to take action against the Greenidge power plant on Seneca Lake. While there was nothing on the agenda regarding Greenidge, many speakers asked the board to support a resolution opposing the expansion and to consider any legal action possible to stop it.
"I really think the public doesn't understand how little Greenidge actually contributes to the tax base for all the environmental damage they could be doing, so we are asking (for) a moratorium on this expansion," said Mary Anne Kowalski, president of the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes. "They have 8,000 bitcoin miners right now and they want to go up to 30,000 and we want a better assessment of it."
The operation of the Greenidge Generation falls under the jurisdiction of the state department of environmental conservation and all permits are up-to-date and operated within according to Greenidge. Expansion of the onsite Bitcoin mining operation would entail the addition of up to four buildings to house additional mining computers. The decision whether or not to allow the permit for the building expansion resides with the Torrey Planning Board, who will be meeting on the issue in April.
"I can see in the near future where we will set up something with the participation from both sides so we can hear from both sides," said Mayor Luke Leszyk.
It was announced the annual Dumpster and Shredding Day has been scheduled for Saturday, May 8. Always a popular service, dumpster and shredding day is open to any Watkins Glen resident and allows for the free disposal of many household items so long as the resident can transport it to the shared services building and get it into a dumpster.
"We just ask that no contractors use it," Leszyk said after the meeting. "It's for the residents of Watkins Glen because they are the ones who are paying for it."
Furniture, rugs, debris and more can all be disposed of while a shredding truck will also be present.
"[This is] for people who want to get rid of sensitive documents like financial records," Leszyk mentioned.
The board also hired a number of new employees, however Leszyk said they were all replacements and did not constitute the filling of new positions.
"They were out of necessity because people left," Leszyk said.
Leszyk added the village can handle the new hirings not only because they are filling vacated positions but because the village has remained in a good financial position even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are in a better financial position (than many municipalities) because we rely on property tax and not sales tax," Leszyk stated.
That being said, Leszyk added after the meeting, he is still eagerly awaiting the specific financial numbers regarding what Watkins Glen will get from the stimulus package.
"I have seen the numbers for towns and counties but not for villages," Leszyk said. "We are hopeful (regarding how much the village will receive), I think we are in a good position to see that money would be put to good use. We have lots of projects, upkeep maintenance and streets."