Brookside owner is feeling burned by county's $20G fee to dump debris

Wreckage from fire results in huge tab for dumping materials at Delaware landfill

By Brian Sweeney
Brookside Hardware in Margaretville is facing a bill of approximately $20,000 from Delaware County for dumping the debris from the March 5 fire that destroyed the business.
The estimated cost is based on the county’s “tipping fee” of $70 per ton for disposing of construction waste at the county landfill in Walton.
In an effort to assist with the problem, several local officials have been working with Brookside to assist in finding a solution.
“We’re trying to figure out a way to help the business out,” stated Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) Executive Director Alan Rosa. “We have a loan with Brookside and we’re talking to Will (Finch, Brookside co-owner) about how to get his building rebuilt. They’re one of our largest businesses.”
Mr. Finch had asked the county to waive the tipping fee, given the circumstances that made the dumping necessary.
“I think it would be a bit of a business promotion,” Mr. Finch stated. “It’s a lot of money.”
He noted that his enterprise contributes many thousands of dollars to the county in sales tax revenues each month.
Mr. Finch said he asked several local officials to see if they could assist with the waste disposal problem, including Middletown Supervisor Len Utter.
Supervisor Utter said he approached this fellow members on the Delaware County Solid Waste Committee (of which he is chairman) and asked if an exception to the tipping fees could be made for Brookside, in light of the tragic blaze.
“I told Will that I would do what I could, but the rest of the committee members were adamant that there are no exceptions,” Supervisor Utter explained.
“If the CWC is willing to assist, I think we’re going to be able to help him out,” the supervisor explained.
He noted that if the fire had occurred on private land and not on commercial property, that the debris could have been buried (if not in a floodplain).
“This is an injustice,” Supervisor Utter stated.
The supervisor said he had also asked the county about offering credit to Brookside until reimbursements are received from the company’s insurance carrier. He was told that credit had been tried in other similar cases and several times the funds were not paid back.

Steep fees
Mr. Finch said the debris from the fire that destroyed his building is estimated to be about 1,300 cubic yards. In addition to the tipping fee of about $20,000, the Brookside owner said that hiring Frank’s Septic Service to haul the building remains would be a separate expense amounting to thousands of additional dollars.
The debris from the 10,000-square-foot building has been pushed into a pile until the matter is resolved. Mr. Finch said the wreckage would have already been removed if the fee issue had not become an obstacle.
Mr. Finch said he’s planning to rebuild his business, but would probably relocate the structure to higher ground, closer to Route 28 — on an area currently used as a car lot. The auto repair garage, which was built from blocks, will also be saved.
“We want to rebuild real soon if we can get permits in place,” he explained.
Amazingly, Brookside was able to reopen for auto sales the morning following Wednesday afternoon’s fire. Temporary buildings have been moved to the site and Brookside has also restarted its animal feed sales. Mr. Finch said that mulch and landscaping supplies are expected to be added this week.