Stinky choices at
Originally published: February 27,
2012 6:35 PM
Updated: February 27, 2012 7:33 PM
To fix its budget, the Town of
Brookhaven is thinking of plugging the hole with
garbage. It stinks, but the town may have no choice. If
it goes that way, though, the town must find ways to
mitigate the impact on the landfill's neighbors.
The odor is a key reason why
expanding the Yaphank landfill is an unpleasant option.
Though it takes only ash and construction debris,
neighbors say it smells already, and bringing in more
won't help. Still, that's the unpalatable possibility
that Supervisor Mark Lesko placed before Brookhaven's
landfill advisory committee.
Here's why he is considering the
unpopular idea: Pre-Lesko, the town kept property taxes
down, because two revenues driven by its growth -- the
mortgage recording tax and landfill fees -- were strong.
But the recession killed both. The mortgage tax is still
lagging, but the town did attract additional trash by
discounting rates for carters who brought more. So a
larger landfill could fetch $2 million to $3 million a
The town has cut spending 26
percent, and it doesn't want to turn to a property tax
increase; it would be staggeringly steep. So, the
landfill seems the least awful option.
The easiest expansion is vertical,
not horizontal. But either needs state environmental
approvals, and either would burden neighbors. In effect,
a few would suffer to solve a town wide problem.
So they deserve better
odor-reduction -- and considerations such as lowered
property tax assessments.
Anything less would just stink.