At the July 9th Council Meeting, Councilman Vinnie Pellegrini moved to form a special committee to better understand the concerns of residents with Tilcon of New York’s operation of the Riverdale Quarry. Councilmen Brad Clinton and Gary Mastrangelo volunteered to participate. In addition, myself and another resident volunteered to lend expertise and conduct research to support the efforts of the committee.
A list was constructed that echoed the concerns expressed by residents, the Borough Engineer and local environmental groups.
These are complicated and serious issues that should not be treated lightly, especially since a 12-year old legal settlement pre-negotiated the terms of Tilcon’s quarry license renewal for 3 successive 6-year terms. This year the Council is tasked with the approval of the third term of this agreement which would allow Tilcon to conduct business-as-usual for the next 6 years. Considering Tilcon estimates only 8-10 years of quarrying remaining and with only 14 years left on their lease, it is more important than ever for the Council to be thorough in their due diligence.
At the August 12th Council Meeting, Pellegrini circulated minutes from the July 3oth Quarry Committee meeting and informed the Mayor and Council of their intentions to meet with the Borough Engineer, Paul Darmofalski, and Borough Attorney, Robert Oostdyk, to a gain clarity on a number of issues. Shockingly, Mayor Budesheim in what can only be described as an angry tone, stated that he would be notifying Tilcon and quarry property owners of a quarry license renewal hearing at the August 26th Council Meeting. Despite objections by Pellegrini stating that the hearing would be premature, Mayor Budesheim sent notifications to the parties and announced the hearing the in the Public Notice section of the Sunday Suburban Trends.
Budesheim attempted to justify his actions stating that the Quarry Committee has had 6 weeks and has done nothing. As a volunteer participant I can tell you that this could not be further from the truth.
As confirmed by Oostdyk when the committee was formed, Tilcon can continue operations under the existing license until such a time that the Council acts. According the Trends article, Budesheim promises action by the Council. This can only be described as irrational behavior by a lame duck mayor. A flat-out denial of the license renewal would only end with a lawsuit that the Borough cannot win. Tilcon has repeatedly expressed their interest in being a “good neighbor” and cooperating with the Borough in anyway possible. The purpose of the Quarry Committee is to fully understand both sides of the issues outlined above so they can make requests that are reasonable, legal and in the best interest of Riverdale residents.
Please come to Borough Hall on Wednesday, August 26th at 7:30PM and respectfully request that the Council does not act in haste and to let the Quarry Committee do what it was formed to do.