Last week, a motion was brought forward for Council to authorize the City Manager to enter into negotiations with Casella for a possible leachate line from the Ontario County Landfill to the City of Geneva Waste Water Treatment Plant. In our previous post, we had called for a tabling of the motion, and, Wednesday night, it was tabled.
At the time, the table seemed the only responsible vote for Council-- at least in light of the last minute disclosure of a contract between the City and Casella that had been assumed not to exist. The City Attorney and City Manager had told both the public and Councilors that no contract existed in the weeks leading up to the proposed ‘renegotiation’.
Turns out, there are so many unknowns, and so many risks, and so many questionable aspects, for this whole deal that the resolution ought to be simply voted down—defeated. Period. To prove our point, we came up with 25 questions—actually, we stopped at 25- that individually raise enough doubts to call the whole thing off, and collectively warrant calling the whole issue a ‘fiasco’:
- Why in the world would anyone allow a garbage dump to pour its leachate into the water they drink without knowing for sure what is in it?
- Does the City have any existing policy for environmental sustainability?
- Why would the Council, in 2005, authorize the City Manager to “negotiate and execute” a contract, but not hold a discussion of the provisions of the contract?
- Was the 2005 contract in the City’s best interest?
- Why did the City never provide the specific “parameters” for the chemical composition of the leachate it received from the landfill, as it said it would in the now-found 2005 contract?
- What, exactly, are the current parameters, including all substances tested for and amounts?
- What toxic substances are not tested for?
- What toxic substances should be tested for, given known composition of landfills?
- What is the comparative cancer rate for the City of Geneva?
- Must the City accept leachate from the Casella under any conditions?
- Does the City have to agree to a sewer line for the leachate if Casella calls for one?
- Why would the current City Attorney not know of the existence of such a contract?
- Why would the current City Manager not know of the existence of such a contract?
- How could anyone be talking about authorizing the current City Manager to enter into negotiations with Casella about a leachate line and have no knowledge of the current contract?
- Where was the current contract found?
- Who found it?
- Why was it not brought forward sooner?
- What other unknown contracts are there?
- Why did it take sustained community based inquiries to bring all this to light?
- Why do citizens appear to be doing more due diligence on these issues than the elected and appointed officials?
- Why was there so little outrage expressed about the missing contract by Councilors at Wednesday night’s meeting?
- Who in the administration is accountable for this fiasco?
- Why is that not one private citizen came forward at the meeting to speak in favor of the leachate deal?
- Why is that City staff and Casella seem to be the only ones in favor of the leachate deal?
- What are the exact, net revenue amounts, per year, for the City of Geneva from Casella? (This means taking what’s billed and subtracting the costs of treatment, including chemicals, energy, staff, and administration costs in appropriate, proportional amounts.
Councilor Alcock put it well: “No one wants this, so why are we even discussing it?” Given the justifiable public outcry, and the mountain of missing information, there is lots more to discuss in terms of accountability and the leachate itself. Let’s put a moratorium on leachate until these 25 questions, and all others, are answered to the community’s satisfaction.