After a summer of contentious meetings over converting landfill gas to energy, the Madison County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to enter contract negotiations with Waste Management Renewable Energy. The resolution, amended by Supervisor James Goldstein (D-Lebanon), divided the board, passing by a margin of about 100 votes.
Discussions before the vote were better tempered than those in committee meetings during the summer and in a recent committee of the whole that disintegrated with several supervisors and county attorney John Campanie expressing frustration with the behavior that seems to pervade energy projects this year.
After the Sept. 28 committee of the whole ended abruptly with Supervisor Russell Cary (R-Fenner) moving to table the second of two resolutions up for consideration, Chairman Rocco J. DiVeronica strictly enforced the lengths and number of times supervisors were allowed to comment at the Oct. 9 board meeting.
Supervisor Scott Henderson (R-Oneida Wards 1, 2 and 3) began discussion by saying he tabled the matter at the Sept. 28 committee of the whole because there were too many empty seats around the horseshoe to adequately represent the county's interests.
"We are in the process of second-guessing a system that has served the county very well," Henderson said of what he felt was an attempt to circumvent the committee process.
Department heads, project managers and committee members go to great lengths to study projects before bringing them to the full board, Henderson said.
"I admonish you all to think carefully about your votes," Henderson said.
Supervisor Douglas Holdridge (R-Lincoln) said while he understood the points presented by others, information about partnerships and economic development were late in coming to discussions and were theories without substantiating documentation.
Goldstein, who originally moved a resolution supporting Oneida Madison Electric Cooperative for the project, said he understood the philosophical differences between those who supported entering negotiations with Waste Management and those who preferred to keep the project local.