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Working Group to Consider Resource Recovery Solutions

Published: 2/22/2010

For Release: February 22, 2010
Contact: Michael A. Ellison 486-2103

Chairman Rolison, Legislators to address challenges facing the
county’s waste-to-energy facility

Chairman Robert Rolison (R-District 8) today announced the creation of a bipartisan “working group” assigned the specific task of researching and vetting policy solutions that address the challenges faced by the Dutchess County Resource Recovery Agency (DCRRA). Rolison has asked Legislators James Miccio, Dale Borchert, Gerald Hutchings, Alan Surman and Steve White to serve on this task force.

“At a recent Committee of the Whole meeting, County Legislators were brought up to speed on the operations and tribulations faced by the Resource Recovery Agency, which oversees our waste-to-energy facility in the Town of Poughkeepsie. This facility provides a tremendous benefit to our communities by allowing for an eco-friendly way to dispose of solid waste while providing an alternative source of energy for local residents. Our goal must be to make DCRRA operations more efficient and equitable so that the benefits of this facility can be realized for generations to come,” said Rolison.

In 2009, The Poughkeepsie Journal ran articles that contend the DCRRA facility “fares poorly when compared to other plants” despite a substantial county subsidy in order to continue to operate. An independent review of the agency in late 2009 reached the conclusion that the facility cannot currently function without subsidy from the County and makes several recommendations to reduce its dependency on taxpayer dollars.

“Flow control, facility upgrades, and replacement of the inequitable net service fee that comprises the County subsidy have to be explored,” said Miccio, Chairman of the Environment Committee. “However, we must not lose sight of the fact that this facility provides us an alternative to burying our garbage in landfills while giving us a chance to turn solid waste into usable energy. As we discuss and debate issues surrounding the DCRRA we must also look at ways to improve green initiatives that promote recycling programs and alternative energy sources.”

“We empathize with Dutchess County families and businesses that just cannot afford to pay one more dime. Still, County government has a fiduciary responsibility to the DCRRA that requires us to make sure the agency meets its bottom line. This working group must use this time to do more than throw money at the DCRRA’s problems, rather it must ultimately recommend policy that will reduce the County cost obligations to the agency while making the cost structure more equitable for all taxpayers,” said Borchert, Chairman of the Budget, Finance and Personnel Committee.

“The next step is to let this group of intelligent, dedicated public servants conduct their investigation then bring it before the residents for comment and discussion before the Legislature takes action on those recommendations. We understand time is of the essence, but we cannot allow political expediency guide decisions that will impact county residents for years to come,” concluded Rolison.