Monday, August 30, 2010


Auerbach Trashes Lack of Legislative Oversight

KINGSTON, NY (August 30, 2010)… Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach released the first of several reports on the Ulster County Resource Recovery Agency (UCRRA) claiming that the “Ulster County Legislature has practiced a laissez faire approach and this hands-off governance style has cost the taxpayers nearly $32 million with no end in sight.” This report analyzes the fees paid to the agency by Ulster County. These fees are known as Net Service Fees (NSF) and they are paid as a result of a 1992 Agreement between the County and the UCRRA.

“In talking with some county legislators about the UCRRA, I noticed a lot of hand-wringing and shoulder-shrugging followed by admissions that ‘we have no choice’,” said Auerbach, “so I took a look and pulled back the curtain.”

What Auerbach found is that since 1992 the County has had significant opportunity to closely monitor the finances of the UCRRA and the fees paid to it.

• Since 1998 Ulster County has covered between 10% and 50% of UCRRA’s annual operating expenses, totaling nearly $32 million.

• The County has not employed its contractual powers to monitor and control factors contributing to the NSF.

• The County has not practiced due diligence to ensure the UCRRA complies with its contractual obligations, including repayment of NSFs.

• Under the status quo, the UCRRA will not be able to meet its obligations in the future without continued, annual NSF from the County.

“The contract between the UCRRA and the County empowers the County Legislature to request modifications to the UCRRA budget,” said Auerbach, “yet we found no such requests in the official records of the County or the UCRRA.”

The contract also requires the UCRRA to submit monthly written reports to the Legislature which must, at a minimum, include: estimated and projected Net Service Fees and the number of gross tons of Solid Waste or Regulated Recyclable Materials delivered to the system, processed and sold, and its amount and price, yet the Clerk of the Legislature has no record of ever receiving such reports, according to the Comptroller

“I call upon the Legislature to use its power and authority to protect taxpayers in every way related to the UCRRA,” said Auerbach, “simple due diligence is what is needed and this report provides some guidance on how to begin.”

The report, entitled “Net Service Fees: $32 Million and Counting” can be found at

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