the bonding: (l-r) Councilmen Dominick Calsolaro and
Corey Ellis criticize the plan to expand the Rapp Road
It on the Residents
councilmen slam “hidden tax” in latest opposition to landfill
Albany Common Councilman Dominick Calsolaro (Ward 1) spoke
out Tuesday against what he calls a hidden tax on Albany residents
as part of the impending expansion of the Rapp Road landfill
in the Pine Bush Preserve.
As part of the Rapp Road expansion permit, the Department
of Environmental Conservation requires a $10 per-ton fee to
be set aside for habitat restoration for the Pine Bush. Rather
than charging this fee to haulers, the city plans to use 30-year
bonds to pay for the fees, which, according to Calsolaro,
will total between $15 and $18 million.
Common Council member that votes for the bonding, I will send
a letter to every one of their constituents—paid for out of
my pocket—to let them know that their Common Council member
approved a hidden tax on city of Albany residents,” Calsolaro
said at a press conference Tuesday alongside fellow councilman
and mayoral candidate Corey Ellis (Ward 3).
bonding, the city is now saying that every one of those $10
fees is going to be paid by the city taxpayers in Albany,
because it’s a city bond,” Calsolaro said. “It’s not going
to be charged to Allied Waste, a multi-billion dollar, multinational
company that’s dumping their garbage in Albany. It’s not going
to be paid by any other of the municipalities who are dumping
their garbage in Albany. It’s going to be paid by the Albany
city residents, who only produce between 8 and 10 percent
of the waste that goes into the landfill.”
will have to pay that money back someday,” Ellis said, “with
interest, for at least 25 years. The taxpayers do not deserve
Calsolaro also expressed concerns that the 30-year bonding
may be illegal.
could not find any language in the local finance laws that
allows 30-year bonds for landfills,” he said, “so I think
this may be in violation of the local finance law.”
It is estimated the expansion will extend the life of the
landfill for another seven years, leaving city residents burdened
by the bonds for 23 years after the landfill’s anticipated
This announcement comes after weeks of public protests and
public figures speaking out against the expansion of the dump.
Activist group Save the Pine Bush has held multiple protests
outside the Department of Environmental Conservation building
and Albany City Hall, Ellis has called for a comprehensive
audit for the landfill, and many other politicians have voiced
their concerns about the environmental impacts of expanding
the landfill into the Pine Bush Preserve.
city has derived income from the landfill, income that paid
for city expenses. But it was done in a shortsighted manner,”
wrote mayoral candidate Shawn Morris in her blog, shawnmorris.metroland.net.
“So now, instead of planning for the next level of waste management,
we are faced with the current no-win situation, for which
the Mayor is responsible: choosing between financial solvency
or expanding a landfill in an environmentally fragile area.”
Grace Nichols of Save the Pine Bush expressed concern that
the costly habitat restoration may not even be effective in
offsetting damage done to the Pine Bush.
am concerned that the plan to transport ‘Pine Bush sand’ from
as far away as Queensbury and place it on top of a plastic
cap and a clay layer on top of a landfill, is just not something
whose success we can predict,” she wrote in a statement based
on comments sent to DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis. “Two feet
of sand cannot support stable tree life.”
Instead, Nichols feels that the $15 to 18 million in costs
for the habitat restoration should be spent buying land in
the Pine Bush for preservation.
Calsolaro and Ellis both said that they plan to oppose the
bonding to pay for the $10 per-ton fee, and with his threat
to send letters to constituents, Calsolaro is encouraging
other council members to do the same. Instead, he suggests
that the fee be imposed on haulers, which Calsolaro said is
what the DEC intended.
city will pay its $10 for the 8 percent that we bring in,”
he said, “but we don’t want to pay the fee for the other 92
Calsolaro has asked the DEC to investigate the city’s plan,
and is requesting that it amend the permit to require “full-cost
accounting” of landfill management to determine the true cost
of the landfill to the city.
attempts by the city of Troy lead to a $2 million lawsuit
The legal battles over the old Marshall Ray building at 701
River St. in North Troy escalated last week when Michael Kitner
and his wife, Helen Mlock, served the city of Troy a $2 million
lawsuit alleging that it has repeatedly violated his rights.
is to get their attention,” Kitner said of filing the suit.
I have had enough of my civil rights stepped on, so I did
what my lawyers told to do. The city thinks that they can
do whatever they want. They can grab whatever possessions
they want. They can use my property however they please. It
is like there is nothing I can do, it seems.”
The city has no comment on the litigation, according to city
spokesman Jeff Pirro.
The suit alleges that the city has taken Kitner’s property,
trespassed on Kitner’s property, illegally stored city docks
on the property behind the building, which is owned by Kitner’s
wife, and denied Kitner due process by padlocking the building
and removing his tenants’ private property from the premises.
His tenants, John and Emmet Murphy, also have filed suit against
the city, claiming the Department of Public Works illegally
removed their property from the building.
The city at one point claimed that Kitner owed “something
short of $300,000 in taxes,” and foreclosed on his property,
wrongly, Kitner said. This foreclosure was recently vacated
by Rensselaer County Supreme Court Judge Christian Hummel.
The city has yet to return the deed for the building to Kitner,
he said, and has started a new foreclosure action against
him for $33,000, “which covers the 2008 and 2009 bills I never
got, including the period of time the city had the building
in the foreclosure, plus 2007, when I sent them the money
but they sent it back to me.”
According to Kitner, the city has been seeking to collect
on money from the balance of a bankruptcy agreement. Kitner
said that the city started foreclosing on him in 2005 over
the $90,000 bankruptcy agreement that he says he was paying
off. “I have acknowledged that I owe the balance, but based
on the terms of the agreement. They just pretend that the
agreement never happened.”
The bankruptcy agreement stems from his original purchase
of the Marshall Ray building.
Now, Kitner said the building is falling into disrepair. He
refuses to spend any more money to perform maintenance, such
as mending the roof or repairing brick, because he doesn’t
know if he will be able to win against the city.
can’t protect my building,” Kitner said. “I can’t go and repair
my roof with these constant threats against me.”
loose ends this week-