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A townwide referendum for the proposed expansion of the Hyland Facility Associates landfill will not be decided until 50 absentee and affidavit ballots are counted by the Allegany County Board of Elections on Tuesday.

Angelica Village Clerk Karen Herdman said the vote Tuesday was 340 to 301 in favor of the 39-acre expansion of the landfill, which opened in 1998 and is now 28 acres.

In two previous votes, residents rejected the expansion. If the expansion would go down to defeat this time, a fourth and final referendum could be held.

Town Supervisor Robert Jones said that the issue has been hotly contested and that the 641 voters who cast ballots represent 67 percent of the registration list. The turnout also was high in two previous votes.

Jones said that there are 36 absentee ballots and an additional 14 cast by affidavit, the result of challenges by poll-watchers from the Green Earth Committee, an opposition group.

Green Earth Committee spokesman Bill Hart denied the group's volunteer poll-watchers had a strategy to challenge voters supporting the proposition. He pointed out that Hyland's contract is unfair because it allows the company four chances to achieve one victory "that will bring in 8.5 tons of sludge, toxic compounds and waste."

The landfill is owned by Casella Waste Systems and is operating under its initial state permit to receive 715 tons of waste daily. The facility receives mostly nonlocal waste from other parts of the state, though a portion comes from Casella's SDS transfer station in Olean and from industries in neighboring Cattaraugus County.

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