Chairman says UCRRA needs to develop clear policy for sale of compost

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KINGSTON – Legislative Chairman David Donaldson delivered results of a financial analysis of the Ulster  County Resource Recovery Agency’s (UCRRA) composting operation to the Energy & Environment (E&E)  Committee at their Thursday night meeting. The analysis confirmed the need for the RRA to develop a clear policy regarding the sale of compost to employees and others. 

Donaldson’s investigation is a response to Comptroller March Gallagher’s probe into the UCRRA.

“We all have a job to do and I am not threatened when someone else is doing a parallel audit. I welcome input and information,” said Donaldson. A statement released by his office added “This type of targeted analysis is what we routinely use to evaluate programs and policies. This is a tool for our continuing oversight of county operations, contract agencies, and the county budget,  to ensure tax dollars are used wisely. It is part of the checks and balances of county government.” 

“In this case, we want to see the RRA Board, an independent authority, establish an appropriate and fair policy and we will be monitoring their progress,” promised Donaldson. 

The Legislature’s analysis notes that the RRA’s fledgling composting program was initially focused on setting up the operations, obtaining and diverting raw materials, and creating markets for the finished product. The agency’s plans to expand the program to make it more profitable were delayed due to COVID.  

Chairman Donaldson also discussed odor complaints and shared a letter from the RRA detailing their ongoing efforts to mitigate and manage this problem that included upgrades to the facility timing and frequency of aeration, increasing filter layers, and plans to purchase an Orion Weather Station to maintain a database of weather conditions for analysis of odor complaints. 

“The agency is working on mitigation and has made some strides but it has not been enough,” said Donaldson.  “With COVID all but behind us, they need to make this a priority.”