Recycling center reopening vote fails to pass

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

A resolution to reopen the Cairo recycling center at Angelo Canna Town Park failed to pass with only three board members in attendance. File photo

CAIRO — With three of the town board’s five members in attendance, a resolution to reopen the Cairo recycling center failed to pass.

Deputy Town Supervisor MaryJo Cords and Councilman Michael Flaherty voted in favor of reopening the facility at the board’s April 4 meeting, with Councilman Tim Powers voting against it. Town Supervisor Jason Watts and Councilwoman Debra Bogins were absent from the meeting.

Three members of the board constitutes a quorum so votes on resolutions can be taken, but a motion has to pass with a majority of the full town board, so a vote of 2-1 in favor of reopening the recycling center failed to pass, town attorney Tal Rappleyea explained.

The board has the option to take another look at the issue and hold another vote, Rappleyea said before the vote was taken.

“Anybody can always bring it back up again, but if you want to have a vote on it tonight and it fails, it fails,” Rappleyea said.

Earlier in the meeting the board voted to increase the hours of town employee Hunter Sprague from part-time to full-time, in part to staff the recycling center. Sprague’s additional duties will also include maintenance at the town cemetery.

The town’s recycling center, formerly housed at Angelo Canna Town Park, was closed in October 2020 by a unanimous vote of the board. According to the 2020 resolution, the decision was made because “Greene County Solid Waste Department noted that the Cairo recycling dumpsters had to be dumped into the normal domestic garbage stream due to contamination by unrecyclable materials. This has been an ongoing issue, as well as harassment of the park staff, along with almost an entire household of garbage being left at the Cairo recycling center,” Powers read from the resolution.

“It was determined that keeping the Cairo recycling center open was no longer cost effective,” Powers continued.

He said he did not understand why the issue was being raised again.

“My question is, why are we reopening it? Why are we spending the money to do this?” Powers said.

Cords responded that numerous town residents have requested that the facility be reopened.

“We had a lot of people come to town board meetings and say that they wanted the recycling center open,” Cords said.

Powers pointed out residents have other options for disposing of their recyclable items.

“Recycling is offered with normal trash pick-up and it’s also offered at the collection centers where they are taking their garbage in Catskill or Windham, so why do we need to doubleback and put another expense on the town that the town doesn’t need?” Powers said.

Cords reiterated the issue was raised “in response to public requests.”

“Basically it is because so many people came to so many town board meetings, not just one meeting, to protest about the lack of a recycling center,” Cords said.

Resident Monica Kenny-Keff challenged that assertion.

“I don’t remember any other meeting that I have been to, and I have been to almost all of them, where people asked for this,” Kenny-Keff said.

Resident Rosemarie Cullington said the recycling center was poorly maintained.

“It always looked disgusting down there when it was open,” Cullington said.

It is not known at this time whether the town board will put the issue to another vote when a full complement of the board is in attendance.

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