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Metro Enviro: Stay or Change the Course?

July 28, 2005

Metro Enviro LLC and Greentree Realty LLC recently filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Village of Croton-on-Hudson and have gotten a stay in court to continue operations until at least August 6, 2005.

Therefore waste-hauling trucks continue to travel through the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, despite the village winning a recent appeal, on their way to Metro Enviro.

Meanwhile two choices appear to lay ahead for the mayor, Board of Trustees and residents of Croton-on-Hudson to consider.

The Village could continue fighting the current unsettled claim over non-renewal of a special use permit with Metro Enviro LLC while at the same time, begin court proceedings over a new lawsuit filed on new grounds from a different plaintiff. The newest lawsuit could argue that the special use permit in question runs with the land not with Metro Enviro, that the site's maximum commercial value is use related to material transfer and that new permit applications, if made, are likely to involve the same use.

If the current board stays the course, and fights dual court battles with both Metro Enviro LLC and Greentree Realty LLC, the transfer station may continue to operate during litigation while the duration of legal defense and cost of future legal fees remain unknown. In addition, if the site is closed, Greentree Realty LLC is sure to proceed with their new action that seeks unspecified damages as they allege that their property rights are being impaired by the Village.

Otherwise, the current republican-majority on the Village board, that includes first-term Dr. Mayor Greg Schmidt, first-term Trustee Jim Steinberg and first-term Trustee Tom Brennan who have pledged "to not negotiate with Metro Enviro" towards a settlement and insist on its closure, could reconsider their stance.

By adopting a new legal strategy, the Village of Croton-on-Hudson could settle both pending actions and revise a new special use permit that yields greater oversight of the facilty while gaining enhanced economic benefits, as noted in the following suggestions.

Gain greater controls of facility

  1. Future stop-work order and permit revocation terms might be more explicit,
  2. permit initial terms could be decreased to 2 years from 3 years,
  3. permit extension term could be decreased to 3 years from 5 years,
  4. the Village could have the option of not granting an extended term,
  5. tonnage limits could be decreased to 1,000 tons per day, while not exceeding 4,500 tons per week,
  6. professional monitoring of the facility could begin and be administered by the Village, and
  7. suggest that only up to five empty trucks or containers be on the property at a time for storage purposes.

Receive enhanced economic benefits

  1. Request re-payment of the legal costs incurred by Village of more than $500,000 for prior legal action (pdf),
  2. insist on $25,000 per year reimbursement for professional monitoring,
  3. seek access and use a portion of site,
  4. obtain the lowest available rates for disposal of Village waste,
  5. change the fee rates to $4.00 per ton for first year ($963,000) and $5.00 per ton in second year ($1,170,000) of initial term, and
  6. change the fee rates to $5.25 per ton of extended term ($1,228,500 per year).

Over five years, the Village of Croton-on-Hudson could add as much as $5,818,500 in income from Metro Enviro operations, assuming that a maximum of 234,000 tons of C&D waste is transferred from the facility at a fees per ton previously outlined. That total averages to $1,163,700 per year, a sum equal to nearly 9% of the 2005-2006 fiscal budget of $13,165,527 for the village (pdf).

What next?

The future may be more uncertain than before as Metro Enviro LLC and Greentree Realty LLC continue to demonstrate their collaborative commitment to a powerful industry and a very valuable piece of privately-owned land.

As with other large and influential corporate neighbors like Entergy Nuclear Northeast's Indian Point Energy Center, community activism has helped to transform two of the most poorly run nuclear reactors in the country, into, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the safest with green ratings, the highest available.

The same holds true with Metro Enviro, a company that admits to fraudulently operating its business in many ways, directly in violation of the special use permit it was issued in 1998, does so no longer.

Just as residents around Indian Point might prefer not living in the shadows of a nuclear power plant, but since we are, it better be safe and secure as its owners insist, like the sirens better work when there is no power by way of a localized generators and so on...

Metro Enviro is in compliance, (comĀ·pliĀ·ance) n. 1. The act of complying with a wish, request, or demand; acquiescence, only now because our community and Village Board acted on their misconducts. Should Metro Enviro or another similar company continue to do business in our Village, the residents of Croton-on-Hudson should expect them to be both good corporate citizens and compliant neighbors.

This is a very important issue to the Village of Croton-on-Hudson, so please call, write or speak directly to your most-trusted Trustee and our mayor with you questions, comments and concerns.

-- Steve Smith & Ross Weale (Oops. We forgot to include the byline on our article when it was originally published... Updated: 07/28/2005 12:21:45. Updated again with definition of the word "compliance": 07/29/05 17:55:06)

On July 28, 2005 11:08 PM, Devil's Advocate said:

The way I see it, the republican majority are already “lame ducks”. If they do not negotiate their way out of this Metro-Enviro mess in short order, they will lose their numbers advantage in March with Steinberg losing the seat he did not win in the first place. Schmidt and Brennan will meet the same fate at the hands of taxpayers sick of these futile legal battles and their high price tags, not to mention village liability if they lose the lawsuit.

If they do negotiate, they will have NO credibility because they will have gone against their tough guy “We will not negotiate with Metro-Enviro” stance. This will also lead to their demise at the polls as well.

Sorry guys, you made Metro-Enviro the primary election issue, and now you have painted yourself into a corner. Wouldn’t it have been wiser to say “We will continue to fight Metro-Enviro”. That would have left room to change your stance and maintain credibility with the voters.

Unfortunately, digging up a few pipes in Croton and cleaning up the bus station won’t fix this dilemma you are in. Good luck, your intentions were good but execution was poor.


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