Seneca Falls holds first community forum (video)

Seneca Falls Town Supervisor Greg Lazzaro described it as a “learning experience.” Moments before his first Community Forum he explained the process, “It’s trial and error. This is a real chance for us to listen to the community.” For those living in Seneca Falls, and even the surrounding area, it was an opportunity for them to express their concerns about the future of the region. A variety of issues were discussed, including the Seneca Meadows Landfill, recycling, the heroin epidemic, housing, and assessments. Lazzaro first discussed the idea of a community forum when he was campaigning for Town Supervisor of Seneca Falls. It was about getting people involved at all levels of government. The forum, which was held in the Seneca Falls Community Center saw dozens come out in support of various issues. Of course, one of the biggest issues of the evening – was the landfill, which has been a major topic at every board meeting this year.The second speaker of the evening addressed his concerns about property taxes if the Seneca Falls Town Board pushes to remove Seneca Meadows from the area. “The Town Board really needs to think about how they’re going to make up that money,” said Bob Wayne, who also expressed concerns about rental properties in the Town being purchased by those from outside the region. Those properties, he said, are being turned into rental properties, which he believed should be taxed. Lazzaro pointed out that there are already laws at the county level, which address this rental issue. While the odor, leachate, and trash trains associated with Seneca Meadows were all a major part of the larger debate taking place about how Seneca Falls should proceed – a number of individuals attended from outside the Seneca Falls area. Residents from Tyre, Waterloo, and Fayette all spoke at the forum – asking questions about environmental impacts, as well as the potential actions the Town could take moving forward.Other speakers addressed the necessity of becoming “more self-sufficient.” They also addressed the notion of fully-embracing the zero waste mindset. While some focused on laws that could be added to the books, which would increase recycling participation – others suggested making recycling easier for everyone. Multiple speakers suggested providing larger recycling bins, citing the difficulty that small, square blue bins pose for residents. Similarly, those residents asked how many more would recycle if they had a recycling bin that was as large as the town’s trash receptacles. Another individual asked if flipping the trash and recycle pickup schedule would have a positive impact. For those in the room, the feeling was that ‘yes’ was the answer to most, if not all of those questions. Brad Jones, former Mayor of Seneca Falls, said that it’s time to act. “Put your ink on the paper,” he said to the board. “We have to put something on paper to move forward with the next steps,” Jones concluded.While those in attendance were skeptical, Seneca Meadows District Manager Kyle Black addressed the board, as well as some of the concerns raised by residents. Seneca Meadows has installed 21 new gas collection wells in the landfill and added vacuum connections, which will reduce the overall odor, he explained. Black explained that Seneca Meadows is in the process of installing 13 additional gas collection wells, along with larger pipes to collect more gas from the new and existing collection wells.Mary Saratorri and Anette Lutz, the two newest board members expressed interest in moving the district forward, listening, and simplifying the process for residents to get involved with the board. One promise Lazzaro made during the forum would be addressing the technological gaps that exist currently.Lazzaro told FingerLakes1.com after the forum concluded that he was pleased with the way things turned out. Ultimately though, he explained that this would be a building process, with the next forum utilizing some of the suggestions those in attendance made to him and the board – during the final moments of public comment.

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