Wednesday, January 26, 2011


With the unexpected shake-up of committees and participating members, I have found myself on the Governmental Services & Admin Committee. (GSA) Chaired by Kevin Roberts.

Monday evening was my first formal committee meeting for this year. The meeting was held at the UCRRA complex on Rt 32 in Ulster, NY. 
Kinda nice to meet outside of the County building considering the hours we spend there already. 
The renewed Board of RRA had just closed their meeting when I arrived, having finalized their Resolution proposal authorizing a joint commission to Study the Agency. That resolution was waiting for us when we got there. 

The agenda was short on paper. Four items. We addressed those resolutions after getting an update on the operations regarding the RRA. Leon Smith, the Chair of the Board and Tim Rose, Operations Director, stayed on to answer questions.

The Paterson Grinder that suffered damage from misuse is back and functional, but discussions revealed to us that the unit is too big for what RRA needs. Estimates from experts claim we could still sell off the Grinder for Hundreds of thousands of dollars and purchase a proper version for a third of the cost. 
Another large ticket was the lift. It turns out the truck lift that was sighted in the Comptrollers Report as broken is actually obsolete. Repair of the mechanism would be lost money. 

We did receive fines from the DEC  recently regarding the unregulated storage of fuel and antifreeze tanks on the compound. Remedies are in the works as plans for a cement base structure have been submitted and bids gone out for the work come spring. That should end that threat.

The scale in New Paltz has been repaired again with the intent to replace the whole unit in 2011. The estimate for the design of that scale is around 13K. I failed to ask how the weight of the trucks was handled during the times it didnt work, if they were in operation during that period. Perhaps a comment here will explain that.
We discussed the single stream revenue dilemma that faces the agency. The current procedure still keeps certain resources separate during the process. The raw materials are a higher grade while handled this way. Worth more to the buyer clean. Single stream puts glass, cans, plastic newspaper & cardboard together. The paper product is exposed to contaminants rendering the combined bulk product a lower grade. It may be worth less on the selling side but the manhours and fuel spent to collect and ship separately make the lesser product desirable. 

Its only a matter of time before the RRA falls into this form of operation. Speaking of time, Its not that far off that the past debt payments from "dump closings past" will come to an end. In just a few years to come, monies currently allotted for that service will cease to budget.

Resolution #1 asks the Legislature to appoint a Joint Committee made up of Legislators and appointed personnel to review, and implement solutions to help in oversight. A mirror of the resolution request of the Board.

Resolution #2 asks that the Rules of Order be changed to require a first & second reading of all resolutions affecting Labor agreements. Submitted by Ken Ronk, he asked that Rule 3 B be altered to include an additional paragraph B (1) indicating as such. The committee decided this should be reviewed yet another month and come back in March.

Resolution #3 asks that the Legislature consider changing the appointment process for future Board members of the RRA. Requiring the nomination of members by the Executive and confirmation by the Legislature. The five member board would be installed with a staggered serving period initially but followed by only one appointment in following years. All starting in 2014, having little affect on the current board appointments. The Committee asked if the sponsors would postpone this request. No action.

Resolution #4 asked the Legislature & it's Chairman to consider splitting the current Government Operations and Environment committee into two. Thus bringing the Efficiency portion back into play and relieving the chair of the burden of Mandate review. The Committee asked if the sponsors would postpone this request. No action.

I had coffee and crackers while participating. It was cold out. My car ran properly and actually got me home.


Anonymous said...

Mike did anyone ever think of putting out an RFP and seeing if the county could get out from under this monster

Anonymous said...

What do you mean that grinder is "too big"? What idiot bought a grinder that is now deemed "too big".

"Experts claim we could still sell off the Grinder for Hundreds of thousands of dollars and purchase a proper version for a third of the cost"

Who are these "experts" and where were they when we bought it?

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS? Are you f-ing kidding me? How much did this thing cost?

Whoever bought a grinder for hundreds of thousands of dollars that is "too big" should be fired for incompetence, and we should look into who benefited from the purchase of such a piece of equipment.

That must have been a pretty hefty sales commission for whoever sold us THE WRONG PIECE OF EQUIPMENT.

Mike, could you let us know what year this piece of equipment was bought and who the on the Board of Directors then? Also if you could publish the RFP that went out for bid, it should show us why we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for NOTHING.

I hope that you and others raised these questions at the meeting, and that we are only getting the readers digest version on your blog.

I will get back to the reading of your post now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks as always Mike for being one of the few in County gov't. to keep us up to date.
A far cry from the Legislature website which still shows 2010 committees and members and last updated agendas and minutes in Oct. 2010.
Maybe you might be able to find out why they can't keep that current. (other than not wanting anybody to know what's going on)

Anonymous said...

Mike, could someone please find out how trucks get weighed with no scale.

Anonymous said...

11:27 is right. This is the first time we have heard any info or opinions from an elected official whether you agree or not. It's quite refreshing.
We also have the ability to argue with Mike and others here which also begs the question, Why don't others in elected positions do this?
We get to hear from Madsen, Sweeney, Auerbach and now Petit, but the rest are invisible. C'mon you guys, step up.

Lou said...

Good Afternoon Mr.Madsen

This is probably to me one of your best informative posts in the last few months. If it is not, then it has to be in the top five.

I want to stress the word "informative". I am sure that much was discussed that you can not post. And your post is more than we get from the local newspaper even though the paper is online and posts as it happens.

But as far as a joint commission to study the agency, well I hope part of the joint part comes from outside the county. I am suggesting that may it be that some office at the state level be part of the joint commision. And with all the levels of and departments of state gov't New York taxpayers support, there has to be one that Ulster County can tap for this. I know that it takes time. But,duh, duh, duh. How much foolishness can we take. If a study is being authorized. I have to ask, is there smoke and does is smell bad? Or else why spend the time on this.

As far as the grinder being to big. I guess it depends as to when it was purchased and what the stream was projected at that time. But that pertains to planning by those at the time. I could keep going on, but the more questions we have there are less answers. You had to be there at the time I guess.

As to the truck lift, not fair to comment unless I can see the "Comptrollers Report". Not sure I know how to get access to that report. But, I am sure if I ask the Comptroller, the office will supply the report. And that is another point. I get the attendance of legislators at meetings as a press release for all to see. But not the report, never mind.... Another day and another blog for that.

As to the fines the county recieved from the DEC for unregulated storage of fuel and antifreeze tanks on the compound. I am sure that information is available. I will look that up at a later date. Just would be nice if local news or the county would let the residents of Ulster County know what the fines cost. It is our money that paid those fines. And there are many residents in Ulster County who are not aware or do not know how to find out that information. I guess it is good to see a remedy finally. But at what cost?

I do not fault you for not asking how the weight of the trucks were handled. But it would be nice to know. Hope it does not open another can of worms(garbage). Just another reason for an outside office/agency to look into that.

As far as single stream revenue. Well, In my opinion I think that more residents will recycle more with that system instead of separating. What those who crunch numbers and those who have environmental concerns have to figure out is what is best and present it to Ulster County residents.

I need a reminder. You mention something about "past debt payments from "dump closings past" will come to an end. In just a few years to come, monies currently allotted for that service will cease to budget". Are you saying that monies from somewhere are drying up? This just reminds me of the closing of the Town of Ulster dump being closed and the county taking over the closing or something to that effect years ago. You see, I remember back in the day when I could take my trash/garbarge/yard waste to the site before the TofU agreed to let the county close the site. I do not remember the specifics. But do remember the current supervisor at the time telling me something to the effect that this would save the TofU many dollars. And it did. The county took it over. Let me see as I type this, oh yesssss. The City of Kingston used the site for garbage/trash for a while. I am sure you can check that information out.

I no longer live in Ulster County. I lived in Ulster from 1954 or 55 until 2009. I am done with the ineptness of the State of New York and the County of Ulster. Yes, I and my wife are now spending our retirement dollars somewhere else in another state. We are those who are fleeing New York.And that is sad in a way.
Enjoy your blog,keep the information coming.
thanks, lou

Anonymous said...

This is brain overload. I havent had this much sound information on a local Blog in years. Were you taking notes or something?
Ive seen Legislators sleeping during the formal meetings, you actually paid attention here. You must be in the wrong place. The Legislature is nowhere for a thinking person.

andrew said...

The grinder was purchased in 2005- the the brain child of bemis, right around the time shaw was ousted.See who was on the board then, they had to approved it, if I remember correctly it cost more than a half million.