Last Friday, Smithfield Supervisor Richard O. Bargabos walked out of a meeting in protest. He said the executive session of a joint meeting of the Solid Waste and Recycling and Public Utility Services committees denied due process in the Madison County landfill gas-to-energy project.
"I won't participate in the meeting any longer," Bargabos said after exiting the meeting room. "The Public Utility Service Committee was effectively disenfranchised and overshadowed by the Solid Waste Committee."
Others who participated in the closed portion of the meeting say much of the hour-long discussion revolved around how to keep the meeting closed after consulting County Attorney John Campanie.
"He was having a hissy fit because we were having a discussion," said SWR committee Chairman Michel DeBottis (Oneida Wards 1, 2 and 3) after the public was readmitted to the meeting. "We've all had the benefit of counsel's advice, and now we can begin the joint meeting."
DeBottis also is a member of the PUS committee.
Assistant Planning Director Paul Miller presented committee members and Board of Supervisors Chairman Rocco J. DiVeronica (Lenox) with a revised "apples-to-apples" comparison of the three bids in the landfill gas-to-energy project. Miller's analysis presented Waste Management Inc. as the winner in the rankings, followed by Pennsylvania Power and Light and Oneida-Madison Electric Cooperative coming in last.
After the presentation and some discussion, DeBottis asked committee members to vote for the bidder with whom they wished to enter negotiations.
"I think Paul's analysis is credible," DeBottis said. "We set that criteria and his analysis is true to that criteria."
Fenner Supervisor Russell Cary, who abstained from voting because of a possible conflict of interest, said those who vote based on expected revenue to the county were looking at the project with tunnel vision. He said there are other economic factors to consider.