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Joyce Endee

Town, NCES working on agreement obligations

February 01, 2012
BETHLEHEM — Though it took just a day for Bethlehem residents to make local history a few weeks ago by effectively voting to end litigation between the town and a landfill company, it will take a little longer for the pieces of the settlement agreement to fall into place.

Steady progress is being made, however, and town attorney Brenda Keith recently approved two settlement agreement amendments, which John Casella, president of NCES, has signed. At Monday evening's Board of Selectmen meeting the members said they had not yet seen the amendments.

The first modification changes the introductory clause of the "Restrictions on Development" paragraph to read: "Upon, and only upon, the Ratification and Approval Vote, NCES agrees on behalf of itself and its affiliates (including, without limitation, its parent, Casella Waste Systems, Inc.), successors, and assigns to the following restrictions "

The second amendment extends the waste and recyclables pickup to town-owned buildings.

According to a timeline that Bethlehem and North Country Environmental Services (NCES) is working off, pickup of municipal solid waste and recyclables will begin no later than May 1. A truck and the residential totes for trash and recyclables collection have already been ordered, but that's just the start. A driver will need to be hired and the totes and truck need to be delivered and readied for use before the service can begin.

Meanwhile, the town will be working on closing its transfer station on Route 116, while NCES — a subsidiary of Casella Waste Systems — will open the Trudeau Road transfer station. According to the timeline, those two items are scheduled to happen no later than Feb. 20. On Monday, the Selectmen were planning to sign a letter to the Department of Environmental Services to notify it that the town will be closing its facility. They reassured residents that the town transfer station will not close until the Trudeau Road transfer station opens.

Also in the pipeline are the conveyance of the conservation easement deed and the first quarterly payment of the host community fee will be due on or before April 30.

NCES had agreed to a number of obligations, including the host community fee, conservation easement and pickup service, in return for expanding District V from 51 acres to 61 acres and for exempting the district from the town's aquifer protection ordinance.

On Jan. 17, residents approved the zoning changes 622 to 368 for the expansion and 600 to 384 for the aquifer ordinance.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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