By Gwen Chamberlain
PENN YAN — Yates County Legislators are sending messages to state lawmakers about landfills, the state budget, and funding for voting reforms.
At the March 11 legislature meeting, the local county elected officials unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Finger Community Preservation Act (Senate Bill S2270 and Assembly Bill 5029). The legislation would prohibit construction of trash incinerators in the Finger Lakes Watershed, squashing Circular
enerG’s proposal to build one of the state’s largest waste incinerators at the former Seneca Army Depot on the east side of Seneca Lake.
The county resolution says, in part, “Siting a trash incinerator in the Finger Lakes region, with the associated adverse impacts of air and ash pollution, additional traffic on public roads, damage to the local tourism, winery, and agriculture industries, as well as the lakes and farmland throughout the area, will significantly affect the thriving agriculture-tourism region.”
The resolution points out that three of the largest landfills in New York State are now located in the Finger Lakes Region, importing more than 3 million tons of trash annually.
The facility would be constructed between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, 3,200 feet from a K-12 school and near a residential facility for at risk youth. The Seneca Army Depot is also home to nesting bald eagles and the largest white deer population in the world.
If built, the facility would include a 260-foot smoke stack that could be seen for miles, producing toxic emissions and residual ash that contain dioxins, lead, mercury, and other toxic chemicals that are harmful to the health of humans, plants and animals.
A Seneca Lake advocacy group, Seneca Lake Guardian, says the Finger Lakes region faces a lengthy, costly Article 10 process that removes local control of decision-making over the project unless the Senate and Assembly bills are passed.
Other county resolutions aimed at New York State are:
• Opposing the amendment to the executive budget requiring counties to make up for lost funding with sales tax revenue, imposing a new mandate on counties. Legislature Chairman Douglas Paddock said this requirement will result in an unplanned net loss to Yates County of $41,000 this year. The resolution says replacing what had been state AIM assistance with funding from county revenues is simply a tax-shift that ultimately will result in higher property taxes.
• Urging New York State to fund all costs associated with new voting reforms. A series of reforms to state election law including early voting, consolidating federal and state primary dates, voter registration transfers, and same day voter registration. The new requirements will add costs to the county election process, they say.
Other business March 11:
• Keuka Moorings: Legislators authorized Paddock to send a letter in support of approving the Condominium Offering Plan for the Keuka Moorings project (see related article on page 1).
• YTS Report: Legislators heard a year end report from Yates Transit Services. Ridership in 2018 totaled 3,377, up about 400 over 2017.