Legislators remember Lyn Billings

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 January 2014 at 12:00 am

Kendall resident pushed for countywide garbage

KENDALL – One of the best deals we get in Orleans County is the low cost for garbage pickups. We pay $190 annually per household, about half of what you’d pay outside the county.

It was 25 years ago when Lyndon Billings was chairman of the County Legislature and pushed for the county-wide solid waste contract. The service used to be sporadic and costly for residents, especially in the outlying areas.

The push for county takeover of the contract was controversial, but Billings convinced the towns and villages to support a county-wide contract for the service. The county would handle negotiations for the contract and assume all the headaches when residents called with complaints.

“One of his major projects was bringing in county-wide garbage,” said Marcia Tuohey, a former Legislature chairwoman who served on the board with Billings.

“He was the one who instigated and brought it to the county.”

Billings died at his Kendall home after a brief illness on Jan. 3 at age 88. He taught science at Lyndonville and Kendall, and was the former owner of Nationwide Insurance Company in Holley. He and his sons ran Billings Farms in Kendall for many years.

Billings was part of the first County Legislature in 1980 and stayed on the board for 20 years, serving as its leader for eight years.

The Orleans County Legislature paused for a moment of silence during the group’s meeting on Wednesday to remember Billings.

Tuohey said he was also instrumental in the upgrade of the county’s emergency radio system in the early 1990s. That system is now being upgraded again after more than 20 years.

I remember Lyn from my early days as a reporter out here. He was a master of parliamentary procedure. He was low-key, but engaged in the communities he served.

I saw him a couple years ago when I had a flat tire and ended up in his driveway on Center Road. Lyn helped me with the tire and got me back on the road.

His funeral service was this past Monday at Kendall United Methodist Church.

For a previous article about the county’s garbage collection, click here.

To see a Vintage Orleans feature about the first County Legislature, click here.