Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Auerbach Watching Our Backs!

The Ulster County Legislature is supposed to closely monitor the spending and operations of the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency, but it hasn’t, costing county taxpayers almost $32 million over the last decade, County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach said Monday.

Auerbach released a report on what he calls a “laissez faire approach” to the UCRRA by lawmakers even though the county has been paying net service fees as a result of a 1992 agreement.

“We think it is an opportunity for the legislature to look back at the initial agreement and amend it,” he said. “We are also concerned of what the future is going to hold and we see there may be some dramatic changes to the industry going forward and how is that going to impact the county and the cost they are providing to Ulster Resource Recovery Agency to make up the shortfall?”

Legislature Chairman Fred Wadnola was surprised at the report, saying he thought the RRA was functioning well.

“The net service fee has been reduced, I believe, over the last three or four years and I think everything was going well there,” he said. “The executive director meets with the Environmental Committee on a monthly basis, and since January, he’s been doing it on a quarterly basis. I have to investigate the report and review what the comptroller has stated.”

Auerbach’s report found that since 1992, the county has covered between 10 percent and 50 percent of UCRRA’s annual operating expenses; the county has not employed its contractual powers to monitor the fees; the county has not practiced due diligence to ensure the UCRRA complies with its contractual obligations; and under the status quo the agency will not be able to meet its obligations in the future without continued, annual net service fees from the county.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good job Elliott. It's about time that someone took a long look at the UCRRA. The net service agreement needs to be reworked during these down economic times. The legislature has done little in the way of oversight. I'm glad Auerbach is in the taxpayer's corner.