Upstate Update: Monitor To Oversee Orange County IDA; Ulster County Rolls Out Pilot Composting Program For Food Scraps; Briefs

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Funding For Monitor To Oversee Orange County IDA Included In State Budget

A state monitor to oversee the Orange County Industrial Development Agency landed in the state budget, according to Senator James Skoufis (D, Cornwall).

The monitor is the outgrowth of claims that the agency is mismanaged. The monitor is empowered to veto tax benefits if they involve conflicts of interest or violate the IDA’s own guidelines.

“This Orange County IDA is so far off the rails you can’t even see the rails anymore,” he said. “They have no respect whatsoever for taxpayers. They cut bad deals after bad deals.”

Skoufis cited one recent incentive package for Royal Wines in Goshen, which he said would provide a per job subsidy amounting to $580,000.

“Either the Orange County IDA are the worst negotiators on the face of the planet, or they simply don’t care about taxpayers,” the Democratic lawmaker said.

The senator said believes the monitor will give taxpayers a voice and hold the IDA to a better level of scrutiny.

New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang must choose a monitor for the IDA within 90 days.

Under the approved measure, the state inspector general’s office would oversee the monitor, the plan would sunset after three years unless the legislature opts to maintain it, and the IDA would be responsible for paying for the new full-time position.

The Republican-controlled Orange County Legislature strongly opposes the monitor.

Ulster County Rolls Out Pilot Composting Program For Food Scraps; Rockland Composters Continue To Lobby For County-Wide Effort

Ulster County is unveiling a pilot composting program aimed at recycling food scraps. The pilot will begin in two of the county’s office buildings.

Employees in two county office buildings will be asked to compost their food scraps as part of a pilot program to help implement one of the 13 climate action goals Ulster County Executive Jen Metzger laid out in a January executive order designed to battle climate change.

Orangetown Food Scrap Program

The pilot program will focus on the County Office Building located at 244 Fair St. in Kingston and the Development Court building on Ulster Avenue in the town of Ulster.

Those two buildings, Metzger said, are the two largest of the county’s nearly 40 government buildings and contain the bulk of the county’s roughly 1,300 employees.

“The emissions generated from waste are really quite significant,” Metzger has said, adding that decomposing organic wastes in landfills generates methane, a greenhouse gas that is 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The program will help reduce the amount of solid waste going to landfills across the state.

“Our landfills in New York state are filling up and it’s going to reach crisis levels unless we do everything we can to reduce waste,” Metzger told The Daily Freeman.

She said Ulster County each year generates roughly 33,000 tons of organic waste, which is waste generated from mostly food scraps, an amount that makes up about one-third of the county’s waste stream.

Metzger added that she has set a goal for the county to divert 100 percent of the organic waste from landfills and incinerators by 2030.

The Town of Orangetown over a year ago, in partnership with Rockland Green (the former County Solid Waste Management Authority) launched a pilot program that created a food scrap drop off in Orangetown. The program has been a success – 41 tons of composed food scraps to date – but Rockland Composters, as the local group is known, want the program expanded county-wide. They have been asking Rockland Green, or Supervisors in other town to make food scrap composting drop offs available but neither Rockland Green nor town officials have taken concrete steps to expand the program.

Stewart Airport Adding Flights; Nation’s First Nonstop Flight To Faroe Island Begins In August

New York Stewart International Airport will offer the nation’s first nonstop flights to the Faroe Islands beginning in August, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has said.

Atlantic Airways will offer the seasonal weekly service between Aug. 22 and Oct. 4. Tickets will go on sale beginning May 15.

stewartinternationalairportFlights will land at Vagar, the sole airport on the Faroe Islands. The weekly flights will depart from Stewart on Wednesdays, with the return flights to Stewart arriving on Tuesdays. The flights take approximately six hours.

Atlantic officials said there is keen interest in the new service on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The Faroe Islands are not easily accessible from the United States due to the Danish territory’s remote location in the north Atlantic Ocean and their historically limited air service. Vagar Airport serves the territorial capital of Torshavn, which is also its largest city.

“The Port Authority remains committed to offering greater connectivity to more destinations from New York Stewart International Airport,” said Kevin O’Toole, chairman of the Port Authority. “We anticipate that Atlantic Airways’ new service will bring in more tourism dollars while creating new local jobs.”

Since the Port Authority acquired Stewart in 2007, it has invested more than $220 million in facility improvements. It recently completed a $37 million terminal expansion, which included construction of a permanent U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection station to support new air service and accommodate additional international travelers.