Waste sees potential in a long-abandoned brownfield site,
and wants a little help from the IDA
As early as this December, County Waste, the private Clifton
Park-based waste and recyclables hauler, could begin pouring
the foundation for its new 70,000-square-foot building at
the old King Fuels and Por-Tec site in South Troy. County
Waste would use the building to consolidate its regionwide
recyclables processing operations.
County Waste was in the process of purchasing a building at
the Port of Albany when the company was approached by officials
from the city of Troy. According to County Waste’s Rob Benson,
it wasn’t until the city reached out to the company with a
pitch to locate their new facility in South Troy that County
Waste had considered the option.
Benson told the members of the Troy Industrial Development
Authority that his company was attracted to the brownfield
site in South Troy almost immediately, due to its easy access
to I-787 across the Troy-Menands Bridge, as well as easy access
to the river and railway. Plus, building in South Troy, rather
than moving into an already existing space in Albany, would
give the company the opportunity to create a structure around
the heavy industrial equipment that they use to process and
package the recyclables.
When asked for details into the original negotiations between
the city and County Waste, Jeff Buell, Troy’s director of
public information, said that the city would rather not discuss
the issue. “The deal to move County Waste to Troy is not yet
complete and at this time we do not want to jeopardize the
possibility of $15 million in 60 new jobs in the city of Troy.
We’ll reserve the right to comment until we are a little further
down the road.”
It is a tricky time for County Waste. The large waste-management
company, which serves 16 counties and more than 150,000 customers,
was raided this summer by state authorities who were acting
on a whistleblower tip that the company had defrauded the
town of Colonie out of $15 million. Earlier this year, the
company was fined $10,000 by the Department of Environmental
Conservation for illegally dumping waste at its current Troy
Benson did not return a call for interview.
And now, with the economic downturn, the recycling business
has taken a severe hit. According to Benson, who spoke before
the Troy IDA board last week at its early-morning meeting
at Troy City Hall in hopes of receiving economic incentives
to build in Troy, there is no profit to be made at the moment
in the sale of processed recycling materials, such as plastic,
metal, glass, and paper.
we first performed pro-forma for this project, the market
for secondary materials . . . was fairly robust,” Benson said.
Over the past two months, the price of all commodities has
plummeted. “Worldwide demand for materials has plummeted.
So we have to vastly rework our map of this project.”
In fact, he said, Sprint Recycling, one of the largest and
oldest recyclables hauling companies in New York City, which
worked the five boroughs for 35 years, is now out of business.
said that,” Benson continued, “not only are we interested
in describing this project to you folks, we would also like
to hear . . . the types of benefits and subsidies that might
be available that we could use to develop this project.”
Those types of benefits, according to Sondra Little, the executive
director of the IDA, said would come in the form of a payment
in lieu of taxes, or PILOT. There would be no real property
tax assessed on the building or site, Little said. Instead,
County Waste would make payments back to the IDA.
Little said the IDA is very particular about the companies
it will enter into contracts with. This year, the IDA has
entered into only two such deals. However, she said, members
of her board are taking very seriously the proposal for County
want to make sure that it is a company that is dedicated to
the city,” she said. “And we really want to make sure that
the company has demonstrated a certain level of commitment.”
are very selective,” she said. The incentives that the IDA
can offer are “very significant. These tax structures last
anywhere from 10 to 20 years.”
County Waste has spent nearly $10 million at the site, to
date. “They have completely paved the site,” Little said.
“They are finishing some construction projects.”
The IDA put a notice in The Record, as required by
law, announcing that it would hold a public hearing in early
December, to discuss the possibility of entering into a negotiated
tax payment with County Waste.
Once operational, County Waste plans to operate the facility
from 7 AM to 10 PM, hauling roughly 900 tons of recyclables
into South Troy daily. The recyclables will be processed and
packaged for sale within the enclosed facility and shipped
out to markets throughout the country, in Canada, and overseas.
Benson said that the height of the daily traffic would be
from 10 AM to 2 PM. This has some residents in South Troy
concerned. The Troy-Menands Bridge is notoriously congested,
as it acts as the main inlet for Hudson Valley Community College
and most of South Troy.
Russ Reeves, Troy’s city engineer and member of the Troy Planning
Board, said that everyone involved in the County Waste proposal
is aware of the traffic realities on the Troy-Menands Bridge
and at the intersection of Burden Avenue and Mill Street,
the entrance to County’s Waste’s current facility. He said
that the city is working with the Department of Transportation
to rework the roadway to create a better flow of traffic,
which, in the long run, would include the construction of
on what we have seen so far, they have provided a thorough
environmental engineering package,” Reeves said, adding that
he expects the Planning Board to approve the company’s proposal
at the next meeting.
On Nov. 18, County Waste will go before the Planning Board.
The meeting will be held at 6 PM in the council chambers at
Troy City Hall and is open to the public.
nastiness between local police union Council 82
and Albany County District Attorney David Soares
became more public last week when Soares wrote
a letter to local law-enforcement agencies addressing
the actions of Christian Mesley, president of
Council 82, and James Lyman, executive director
of Council 82. In the letter, Soares accused Mesley
and Lyman of misleading the public and their own
union members about his record as district attorney.
Lyman and Mesley supported Soares’ opponent, Republican
Roger Cusick, and two days before the election,
the pair led a protest in front of Soares’ home
in Delmar. “I am disturbed by their willingness
to distort the facts about my office’s involvement
in the handling of a recent case despite the fact
that they knew my office was not responsible for
that prosecution because of legal and ethical
obligations,” read Soares’ letter. Soares had
recused himself from the case, which involved
Albany police shooting an allegedly armed man.
In a recent Times Union article, local
police officers said they felt Lyman’s and Mesley’s
tactics were over the top and not reflective of
the relationship between most of the police force
and the district attorney’s office.
County Legislator Christopher Higgins (D-District
6) had an op-ed piece published in the Times
Union that called on the county legislature
to take the time to review the qualifications
and job performance of Democratic election commissioner
Matthew Clyne. During a September meeting of the
Albany Democratic Committee, Higgins had called
for Clyne’s reappointment to be tabled so that
a review could take place; that motion was defeated.
Higgins’ op-ed came in the wake of a number of
very public mistakes made by Clyne and the board
of elections regarding absentee ballots during
this year’s election.
City Comptroller Tom Nitido stepped down this
week to take a position as assistant comptroller
of the Retirement Compliance Unit for the state
and local retirement system. State Comptroller
Thomas DiNapoli said, “Tom Nitido has a proven
track record of protecting taxpayer resources
and increasing operating efficiencies.” Albany
Mayor Jerry Jennings can appoint someone to fill
the vacancy left by Nitido, and the position will
be up for election in 2009.
York state Sen. Ruben Diaz uses caucus threat as leverage
to quash marriage equality
On Election Day, Democrats in New York state gained a momentous
win, taking the majority in the Senate for the first time
since the 1960s. That means the Democrats now control the
Assembly, Senate, and governor’s office. Former Senate Minority
Leader Malcolm Smith is now in line to be the new majority
leader, which would make him one of the three most powerful
men in the state, right behind Gov. David Paterson and right
ahead of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). Of
course, this shift of power is causing a lot of consternation,
hand-wringing, speculating, and scheming at the Capitol.
Last week, four Senate Democrats announced that they might
choose not to caucus with the Democratic majority, which would
mean that the Democrats would say good-bye to holding the
majority, and Smith would say good-bye to being the majority
leader. These four Democrats, all from downstate, are using
this threat as leverage. Leverage to, perhaps, receive choice
committee chairmanships, or state funding for key projects
in their districts, or, in the case of Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr.
of the Bronx, for unilateral influence over legislation.
On Tuesday, Diaz issued his demand of Smith: Take same-sex-marriage
legislation off the table, or else. Diaz, a longtime vocal
opponent of same-sex marriage, is trying to force Smith to
stymie any effort to move legislation allowing the issue onto
the Senate’s agenda.
Smith, according to reports, has said that same-sex marriage
is not a priority for him.
loose ends this week-