CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
County Joins Utilities Authority in Suit Seeking to Stop New York City Trash From Heading to Elizabeth-Based Garbage Transfer Facilities By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
ELIZABETH – The County of Union and its Bureau of Environmental Health Enforcement have joined the Union County Utilities Authority (UCUA) in litigation against two Elizabeth solid waste facilities that have contracted to receive New York City garbage.
Trucks carrying over 1,200 tons of waste from Staten Island per day were expected to begin crossing the Goethals Bridge this week en route to Waste Management Inc.-operated transfer stations in Elizabeth. New York City is redirecting its trash as part of its plan to close the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island at the end of 2001. Another 1,900 tons of waste is scheduled to head to Newark.
Over 180 trucks are expected to hit Elizabeth’s streets daily by the end of November, according to published reports. In addition to the legal action, Union County Police set up a temporary inspection station at the foot of the Goethals Bridge this week. Authorities are checking to see if the trucks comply with weight requirements, state regulations and traffic laws.
Jonathan Williams, representing the law firm of DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick & Gluck, General Counsel to the UCUA, explained to the freeholder board last Thursday that the facilities are contracted to receive the waste before it is sent to out-of-state landfills. The
waste will be taken off garbage trucks and loaded on tractor trailers, which will transport it to the landfills.
Mr. Williams said the waste facilities in question had previously applied to amend their function in the Union County Solid Waste Management Plan by doubling their daily capacity for tonnage and extending their operating hours to 24 hours a day.
He said the 1997 applications indicated that the facilities needed to bring in waste from other New Jersey counties as well as recycle types of waste that are not accepted at the county incinerator.
Instead, Mr. Williams said, the waste facilities applied to the state for permits to accept household waste, thus paving the way to bring in New York trash.
The attorney told the board that he was scheduled to appear in state Superior Court in Elizabeth this week to seek an injunction against Waste Management, Inc. Also named in the lawsuit are Waste Management of New Jersey, Inc. and USA Waste Transfer of NJ, Inc. As of Tuesday, court officials said no such hearing had been scheduled.
Mr. Williams said the injunction seeks to prevent New York waste from entering Union County until the firms return before the Freeholder board “and make accurate representation about what they intend to do.”
On another matter, the county introduced an ordinance to amend the
solid waste plan to permit pharmaceutical facilities that generate nonhazardous pharmaceutical waste to continue to dispose of such waste at incinerators of their choice.
Mr. Williams said the pharmaceutical firms requested the change so as to not be required to dump their waste at facilities operated by the Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission (HMDC) in Bergen County, as is required for all other county-generated, non-hazardous industrial waste.
The firms feared potential liability if their waste was landfilled instead of being completely destroyed.
Each of the drug companies will be required to pay a per-ton charge towards the remaining debt on the Union County incinerator. The charge is placed on all garbage burned at the Rahway facility.
Per the county’s solid waste plan, all bulky waste, construction and demolition materials, non-hazardous waste and vegetative waste are required to be sent to facilities operated by the HMDC. The HMDC was awarded the contract earlier this year.
A second reading, public hearing and adoption vote on the ordinance will occur on Thursday, December 9.
In other business, Freeholder Chairman Nicholas P. Scutari said he believes the reelection of himself, Freeholder Linda d. Stender of Fanwood and Freeholder-elect Angel Estrada of Elizabeth on Election Day was
“hopefully a stamp of approval for the direction the county has been moving for the past three years under Democratic leadership.”
He cited the cuts the past few years in the county tax levy, as well as programs aimed at improving parks and the “quality of life” of Union County’s half million residents, as reasons for the Democrats’ victory.
In other business, two Rahway residents took exception to the board’s approval of a $5,000 donation to the Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Parent-Teacher Association for its “Project Graduation” non-alcohol party for graduating seniors.
Bob Carson, in objecting to the resolution awarding the donation, noted that in Rahway over $20,000 had to be raised in donations to fund Rahway High School’s “Project Graduation” program.
“Five thousand dollars is a hefty chunk and I wonder why this isn’t being done for every municipality in Union County,” said Mr. Carson.
Kerri Blanchard said Rahway students are currently faced with no after-school programs due to ongoing labor negotiations with staff. In addition, extensive damage from Hurricane Floyd resulted in the closing of the city’s public library.
“I’m sure we have a far less per capita income than the people in Scotch Plains and Fanwood. We host your (the county’s) garbage facility and yet Rahway doesn’t get $5,000 for their Project Graduation. And our kids need every bit as much, if not more. I feel this is really a form of patronage that is outrageous,” said Ms. Blanchard, noting that Freeholder Stender is a Fanwood resident.
Freeholder Vice Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan said the two residents “conveniently left out” the fact that the county provided $100,000 to the City of Rahway and its school board to help the city refurbish a soccer field a few years ago. He said there were no objectors to that project’s funding.
“It just infuriates me that they would try to pit people from one section of the county against the other based on what their income is or where they live. It’s just a horrible set of circum
stances that they would even say something like that,” said Freeholder Sullivan.
The board also introduced an ordinance setting salaries for the Freeholders, the Freeholder Chairman and Vice Chairman, as well as county government department heads. The Freeholder Chairman will be paid $27,875 while the other board members will receive $25,875 in the year 2000. The Vice Chairman will receive a salary of $26,875. The Freeholder salaries represent an $875 raise over 1999 wages.
Other salaries are as follows: Clerk of the Board, Elizabeth Genievich, $72,573; County Counsel, Carol Cohen, $116,448; County Manager, Michael J. Lapolla, $127,392; Deputy
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Apple or Pumpkin Pie Bob Franks Launches
Campaign for Senate
NEW PROVIDENCE – Republican Congressman Bob Franks last week announced his candidacy for the United States Senate, saying he is committed to providing greater opportunities for New Jersey’s “families, taxpayers and seniors.”
Congressman Franks of Berkeley Heights is serving his fourth term in the House representing New Jersey’s Seventh Congressional District. Prior to being elected to Congress, he served 13 years in the New Jersey Assembly. Mr. Franks also served two terms as Republican State Chairman.
At an announcement stop at the Clara E. Coleman School in Glen Rock, where the candidate attended elementary school, Congressman Franks told students, “I want you to have the best education in the world. It starts by demanding more from our students and setting higher academic standards for students.
“Washington should get out of the business of setting education policy for our neighborhood schools. Parents, teachers and administrators know what’s best for our children. The power to make decisions about
our children’s education should rest with people who know our children’s names, not faceless bureaucrats in an office 200 miles south of here.”
At a second announcement stop outside the Burlington County Office Building in Mount Holly, Mr. Franks said, “As your next Senator, I’ll fight to put power and freedom back in the hands of the American people. Whether it’s through cutting taxes or returning control of education to our local schools, I’m determined to take money, power and influence out of Washington and bring it back to our communities and families.”
During his seven years in Congress, Mr. Franks said he has been a leader in producing the first balanced budget in a generation, providing tax relief to families, improving New Jersey’s transportation system and protecting children on the Internet.
Born in Hackensack, the Congressman grew up in Glen Rock and Summit. He was accompanied at his campaign kick-off by his wife, Fran, and 2-year-old daughter, Kelly. County Manager George Devanney,
$103,334; Director of Administrative Services, Joseph L. Salemme, $92,134; Director of Operational Services, Frank Dann, $95,039; Director of Public Safety, Harold Gibson, $91,055; Director of Finance, Lawrence M. Caroselli, $95,697; Director of Runnells Specialized Hospital, Joseph W. Sharp, $101,543 and, Director of Human Services, Frank L. Guzzo, $93,413.
The department head raises range from $2,800 to $4,800 a year. Most increases were between $3,000 and $3,500. The salary ordinance will come up for a second reading and adoption on Thursday, December 9. A public hearing will be held prior to the board’s vote on the ordinance.
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