Madison County Landfill Director: "closing Camp Georgetown means financial hardship for us"

By WKTV News

MADISON COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - The recent decision by Governor Andrew Cuomo to close the Camp Georgetown Correctional facility will create a major hardship for Madison County’s Solid Waste Management program, according to James A. Zecca, director.

“This program brings in over $100,000 each year through the labor intensive efforts of the inmates,” Zecca said.

On July 7, 2011, Director Zecca received word that the Camp Georgetown work program would be eliminated within the next two weeks.

“Closing Camp Georgetown and similar facilities that are providing a valuable and beneficial community service is difficult to comprehend," Zecca said. "The inmates working at the County Landfill are learning skills that will help them find gainful employment when released, while providing a service that is benefiting the community, which is in stark contrast to the traditional prison setting where inmates contribute nothing.”

Inmates are trained to operate skid steer loaders and other equipment while working at the Buyea Road Landfill Scrap Metal site.

In addition to the work Camp Georgetown inmates do for the Madison County Department of Solid Waste, they have a long list of projects that have been completed for towns and villages through out Madison and Onondaga County.

“Many of the projects completed by Camp Georgetown might not have been considered at all due to a lack of funding and/or manpower,” explained Zecca.

Madison County and Camp Georgetown formed an inmate work program 19 years ago, Zecca said, adding that in 1997, funds brought in through the efforts of inmates to recycle valuable metals brought in $125,376.00.

At that time, this increase in landfill revenue helped reduce the tipping fees at the landfill, he said, adding that in 2010, inmates processed 667.41 tons of scrap metal netting $112,985.33 in revenue for the County.

Director Zecca explained that prior to the inmate work program the County was receiving about $15,000 for scrap metal. Because of this program, the yearly revenue from scrap metal has reached upwards of $150,000, he said.

“The inmate work program has increased the value of our scrap metal recycling program tenfold,” Zecca said.

Other work tasks done by the inmate workers at the landfill site include site cleanup along with tire and gas cylinder recycling.

The County had an arrangement with Camp Georgetown where by the facility dumps 25 tons of waste at the Buyea Road facility at no cost.

“This was a good arrangement,” said Director Zecca. “By working together everyone is a winner.”

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