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Waste Watch: Tax dollars dumped into landfill project

Updated: Wednesday, July 10 2013, 02:39 PM EDT

Arcadia, N.Y. --- It is a 13WHAM News Waste Watch Report that actually, literally, deals with waste.  As in trash or garbage that a developer wanted to take in as part of a landfill project on a town owned site that used to serve as a landfill about 15 years ago.

That developer approached the Town of Arcadia in 2010 and just two weeks ago walked away from the proposed project that taxpayers had invested more than $172,000 in.

Town leaders spent that money on legal fees and engineering studies despite mounting resistance from residents.  Town Supervisor Dick Colacino said the developer claims to have lost about a million dollars on the proposal.

"People might be upset with our board but we had to listen,” Colacino said in responding to public criticism.  "We spent $172,000 unfortunately, I'm not really proud of it but I'm not ashamed of it either.”

The developer reportedly walked away citing concerns of noise and the potentially difficult state approval process that lay ahead.  His plan was to buy a 161 acre parcel from the town and develop a landfill adjacent to the existing landfill that had long ago been capped. 

Supervisor Colacino said the promise of more than a million dollars from the land purchase and the prospect of future tax revenue once construction was complete required board members to entertain this proposal.

“We would lower the town tax in both the town and the village 35%” said Colacino.  "Government is big business really and you have to be willing to put some money up sometimes, I don't care what kind of a project it is, you have to spend money to have the opportunity to make money.”

Signs opposing this proposed landfill project sprouted up all over the town during ongoing discussions between the town and the developer. 

"I have talked to tons of people and a lot of people out in Arcadia and I haven't heard one person come out in favor of this except several of the town board members,’ said Ron Holdraker, editor of the Times of Wayne County.  "It's been nothing but an uphill battle for the town board and they just didn't listen.”

Holdraker covered developments in this project for more than two years and first broke the story about the developer walking away from the deal last week.

"They're still hoping that someone will come along and save the day but that's not going to happen,” said Holdraker.  “They're going to have to explain to the taxpayers why they just spent $172,000 on something that isn't going to fly.”

Waste Watch: Tax dollars dumped into landfill project

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