Wayne Post
  • Developer defends landfill

  • A proposal to develop a solid waste facility in the town has many in the community up in arms — but upsetting local residents was the last thing on Arcadia Hills developer Joe Alloco’s mind, he said, when he first met with the Town Board nearly two years ago.

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  • A proposal to develop a solid waste facility in the town has many in the community up in arms — but upsetting local residents was the last thing on Arcadia Hills developer Joe Alloco’s mind, he said, when he first met with the Town Board nearly two years ago.
    “You might not like my idea,” Alloco said, “but you have to like why I got the idea.”
    The town of Arcadia is in trouble financially, Alloco said, adding that officials need to find a way to generate $1 million a year for the next 10 years. Alloco is no stranger to running a business and has owned real estate in the town for years — operating a mobile home park where he worked as a youth and later inherited from his father. So he put together a business proposal that would help the community he holds near and dear to his heart.
    The benefits
    The proposal includes the purchase of 161 acres of town-owned land where the old landfill is located on Route 88. Alloco is proposing developing a 54-acre municipal solid waste management facility that would utilize state-of-the-art “construction practices which will ensure the highest level of protection of our neighbors and the surrounding environment.”
    In return, the town would put the 161-acre parcel back on the tax roll and an indemnity agreement would release the town from any liability in the event something goes wrong with the old landfill. Financial benefits for the town outlined in the proposal include: A tip fee of $3 per ton charged for all waste accepted and will be allocated entirely between the town and village, increasing every 5 years. These fees alone are expected to bring more than $25 million over the life of the facility. The town will also receive a cash payment of $1.18 million for the property purchase. A scholarship fund valued at $25,000 per year will be set up and the annually the Marbletown, Newark, and Fairville fire departments will each receive a $5,000 contribution.
    What’s more, Alloco will incur the costs for maintenance for the old landfill — saving the town $40,000 annually.
    Alloco said the facility will also create 28 job positions with estimated salaries totaling $1.6 million each year. Construction and support services are estimated at $50 million over the 17-year life of the facility and the purchase of materials locally is estimated at $350,000 annually. The facility will also include a recycling collection center and a yard waste composting facility.
    Since the proposal went public, Alloco has come under heavy criticism regarding his credentials, business plan, the impossibility of the mutual benefit agreement and his whereabouts.
    Where’s Joe?
    Residents attending Town Board meetings have inquired about where Alloco has been. Residents have noted his absence since shortly after the June informational meeting where forces aligning against the landfill first made themselves heard.
    Page 2 of 3 - Alloco said he hasn’t been ducking out of town meetings or avoiding the public. As a matter of fact, he said he is in Newark working every week and the rest of his time is specnt running his business. Alloco said he is more than willing to answer people’s questions, but there is a process that must be followed through the State Environmental Quality Review Act and questions and concerns are being addressed in the scoping document that is being finalized. Treading carefully, Alloco said he is simply following the process that has been explained to him by his attorneys to avoid possible sanctions by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
    Show us a plan
    Alloco said he provided a business plan to the town when he first approached them with the proposal, but inquiries with the town clerk produced only the proposal highlighting the purchase offer and mutual benefits agreement.
    But even the agreement has been criticized as being lacking. Alloco refutes those comments, stating he used other agreements in developing the one presented to the board. Alloco said he believes the contract is generous and there’s no doubt in his mind he can meet the promises made in it.
    “In my case, I didn’t want it fair, I wanted it more than fair,” he said. “I wanted it generous for the town. Anyone who says it’s not as good or better (than other contracts), then they haven’t looked at others. I”m confident that the way we are going to run that landfill, we won’t have a problem. If I wasn’t confident, I wouldn’t do it.”
    The Arcadia Hills website cites 25 years of experience and some believe it alludes to partners that haven’t been named. Alloco said he has indeed been a businessman for 25 years even if not solely in the landfill business. He also reiterated that he has no partners in this venture.
    Is there a leak?
    Letters received during the scoping process of the SEQRA review reference documentation from the DEC indicating the old landfill was leaking at one point and ask for studies to be done for the final environmental impact statement to determine the extent of the alleged leak.
    “That landfill is not leaking,” Alloco said. “I’ve never seen a document from the DEC and I don’t believe it exists. That argument hold no water at all. All the documents we have shows it’s not leaking. I can’t address a problem I don’t know about.”
    And if a study shows the old landfill is leaking, Alloco said he will be liable to fix it — if the sale of the property to Arcadia Hills is approved that is. It has been argued that selling the property does not in any way alleviate the town of its liability for the old landfill and neither does an indemnity agreement. The town put the garbage in the ground, thereby making them forever responsible for it under environmental law. Alloco won’t refute the law but affirms that should he take ownership of the property, he intends to take care of any problems at his own expense.
    Page 3 of 3 - “I’m confident if something does happen, we can take care of it and even catch it early so it won’t be catastrophic,” he said. “Arcadia Hills can afford to fix it where the town can’t.”
    Solar power
    Alloco found the solar power idea interesting, but without sufficient knowledge, he couldn’t comment on it’s lucrative potential for the town. Regardless, Alloco said the town would be wise to explore any opportunity presented.
    “The town board has no where to go,” he said, noting the town’s shrinking tax base. “Anything they can look at that would help with the economic outlook for the taxpayer they should look at it.”
    He also believes seeing how the landfill proposal plays out is a smart decision.
    “At the end of the day,” Alloco said, “whatever the town does has to generate enough money to lower taxes, to attract new business with a low tax rate, strengthen the real estate market, bring more jobs to the community and strengthen the community.”

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