The Seneca Falls Town Board approved the operating permit for the Seneca Meadows Landfill Tuesday night.
This comes after the board recently passed a law that says it must close by the end of 2025.
Many opposed to the landfill attended Tuesday night expecting a vote on Local Law 2. If passed, this law would rescind the plan to close the landfill and restrict any other solid waste disposal site from operating in the town.
Although there was no vote on Local Law 2, a 3-2 vote approved the operating permit for the Seneca Meadows Landfill.
The permit approval was put off for months due to complaints about the landfill’s odor.
However, Seneca Falls Town Supervisor Greg Lazzaro says the number of odor complaints has decreased.
Lazzaro, who voted in favor of the permit approval, says the landfill’s operator has been working with both the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Environmental Protection Agency.
There was no public comment on the agenda, but many people voiced concerns throughout the meeting.
At one point, Lazzaro asked one man to be removed. The man left the meeting before any removal took place.
People said they were upset to see the permit approved without any discussion among the town board.
Lazarro says if the landfill is shut down – taxes would be raised significantly and services could be cut.
“This is a blue collar town, a lot or people they’re on a fixed income. We have aging population here in fixed incomes,” Lazarro said. “I think to raise taxes that much would be hard for them.”
According to Lazzaro, the town receives around $3 million in a host agreement by having the landfill in Seneca Falls – funds added to the annual budget.
Doug Avery, president of Seneca Falls Environmental Action Committee, says that next to the “obvious” concerns like the odor or the truck traffic – the long-term effects on the environment cause an even greater concern.
“Before those payments started, the town thrived so as much anybody else I’ve enjoyed having a break on my real estate taxes. As I said I live here in town, but it’s time for that to stop,” Avery said.
Two seats on the town council will be on the ballot this fall.
It is unclear if the two current town councilors will run for re-election, but Avery says members of the Seneca Falls Environmental Action Committee will be working on identifying strong candidates who will look out for the best interest of the town when it comes to the future of the Seneca Meadows Landfill.
A public discussion on Local Law 2 will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at the town’s municipal building. No public comment will be held during this session