Solid waste management was the topic when the Great Neck Village Officials Association met Wednesday evening, March 26. Town of North Hempstead Deputy Supervisor Christopher Senior and Town Solid Waste Management Authority Executive Director Michael Engelmann opened the information session explaining the "great job" accomplished by the town and the villages working together in intermunicipal cooperation for the last five years.
At the March GNVOA meeting (l. to r.): Kensington's new mayor, Susan Lopatkin, outgoing Kensington Mayor Bonnie Golub, GNVOA President Leonard Samansky, and from the town, Deputy Superintendent Chris Senior and SWMA Executive Director Michael Engelmann.
"The GNVOA led the way in emergency management, led the town and the county ... and will continue with solid waste management," Mr. Senior said, explaining that the current solid waste management disposal agreement is up in two years. As work toward a new agreement continues, Mr. Senior said that everyone is working for "the best government at the best price."
Offering a history of the area's solid waste disposal, Mr. Senior told how at first "it all came to landfills," and the town provided a landfill. With new legislation in 1994, via a court ruling, "it all changed," he said, adding, "it was a wide open situation." So at that point, Mr. Senior said that the town and the villages "came up with a good deal that kept the flow ... the landfills closed ... transfer stations were opened." And an agreement came into place, one that expires in 2010.
Then this year the Supreme Court decided that waste should be controlled at a local level. "We need a new agreement for long-term disposal," Mr. Senior told the group of elected officials.
Mr. Engelmann then discussed the need for a long-term transfer station, to store solid waste until it can be sent to a proper location. On Long Island, solid waste must be hauled to locations either upstate or out-of-state; the solid waste must be hauled to either landfills (which are not permitted locally) or to waste recovery places.
Mr. Engelmann also spoke of recycling and working with districts such as schools, parks and libraries to help them with their recycling efforts.
Mr. Senior and Mr. Engelmann reported that at present the town has RFPs (requests for proposals) out for handling recyclables, for residential and commercial sites. Scrap metal and electronic waste is included. The RFPs are due back by April 25.
The two town representatives went on to explain that the forthcoming agreement can be for up to 25 years; they are seeking a 10-year agreement with three renewal options. They are hopeful that the contract can be agreed on by the end of this coming summer, allowing everyone involved a year-and-a-half to work on the project itself.
Mr. Senior then returned to the topic of school districts and other districts, stating that the town will "push for recycling." And he noted that commercial recycling "just isn't happening." Mr. Senior said that the town hopes to "partner" with businesses to make commercial recycling a reality.
A major concern, a major issue, according to Mr. Senior is the fact that while carters take away waste, not all carters actually recycle. "We want them all to go to regulated facilities," Mr. Senior stated.
Ending the discussion, Mr. Senior said that they need "time to reevaluate the solid waste process." And he reiterated that "We must get the best deal for everybody on a townwide basis."