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City Leaders Support New County Workers Comp Plan & Continue Recycling Talks

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Cortland Common Council met last night (December 3) for a busy agenda of discussion items, including a new county workers compensation plan and upcoming changes at the county recycling center.

Workers Comp

City leaders voted in favor of joining onto a new workers compensation plan worked out by the county, specifically through the Public Employer Risk Management Association (PERMA).

Council previously voiced their intention to leave the previous county plan, as the village of Homer did in January and the towns of Homer, Scott, Truxton, and Virgil each voted to do earlier this year.

The municipalities’ concern dealt with what they described as a lack of sustainability in that plan into the future.

City Finance Director Mack Cook addressed council last night and said the new plan shows a lot of potential improvements:

“This does not commit the city, but it signals to the other participants that the city is willing to stay in this process with the other municipalities,” Cook said. “It will not work without full participation by the county and municipalities both. If either one of those things happens we will have to look for a new model.”

Recycling Center

Council also continued discussing potential options the city has to acclimate to the oncoming changes at the county recycling center come January 1.

That’s when the county officially retakes control of its recycling facility from Casella Waste Management, resulting in substantial changes to the material they’ll accept and a new requirement that all glass be separated from recycling before collection.

City leaders last night continued weighing several options that included asking residents to voluntarily separate and bring their own glass to an alternative facility.

They also discussed the potential for a periodic glass pickup, which would occur one week out of the month.

Bert Adams, the city’s contracted waste hauler, said they would provide the service for an estimated 65-cent increase in blue bag costs, but that it wouldn’t be the first recommendation:

“I don’t want to listen to all the phone calls, because it’s going to be a disaster,” Owner Bert Adams, Jr., said to council. “My suggestion would be for residents to bring their own separated glass to the recycling center for now, and wait to see what the county ultimately decides to do [with plastic & the rest of the material restrictions], that way any changes in the city can be done all at once.”

A more detailed list of what will and won’t be accepted is available here on Cortland County’s website.

Legislator Kathy Bischoff was also in attendance on behalf of the county, who worked through the various concerns of city leaders that largely revolved around not having enough time to sufficiently educate residents about the changes taking place in less than a month.

She appeared to meet their concerns with understanding and acknowledged that she and other city legislators have also prioritized outreach during this transition.

“Many people are concerned with how quickly this process went,” Bischoff said. “This doesn’t really allow you a lot of time, and the last thing we want is to frustrate the residents, because then they’re not going to hear the rest of the conversation. “

Despite her empathy, Bischoff expressed doubt the county ould grant any temporary waivers to the new program, as was proposed by certain city officials.

She indicated she would take last night’s questions and concerns back to the legislature and get more information back in the near future.

Stay tuned with WXHC News for all the updates along the way.

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