July 30, 2007
THERE A REGIONAL LANDFILL IN THE COUNTY’S FUTURE?
During the June
Commissioner’s meeting, there was a resolution
to “Request Membership in the Regional Solid Waste Authority.”
By what was said during the discussion it appeared as if
the County Manager was pushing the Commissioners to approve
joining the Regional Solid Waste Authority. The item was
deferred. Then again at the July Commissioners meeting,
the subject was brought up again. This time citizens showed
up armed with information—information the Commissioners
should have taken the time to gather themselves to become
aware of just what proposals were being pushed by surrounding
counties. The Commissioners voted not to join the Authority
at this time.
TWG has discovered
more information on this subject.
It seems that “Solid Waste” isn’t just a topic for discussion
in the region by the Authority (part of the NE Georgia RDC),
but there have been enough meetings to warrant a VOTE by
the RDC board in a few weeks, in fact on August 16th.
Article “Talking Trash”, Lake Oconee News, 7.27.07
By M. Elizabeth Neal
“Several county and munici¬pal officials in the region
were recently named to a study commission to recommend options
for long-term garbage disposal solutions in Northeast Georgia.
“We weren’t allowed to make a recommendation;
instead, we were charged with recommending a list of options,”
said Torbert [Greene County Commissioner], who served on
the panel. Members of the
Northeast Georgia Regional Development Commission will embrace
a solution - to be chosen from the list of options - in
a meeting Aug. 16 in Athens, said Burke
Walker of the NEGRDC.”
“The four options range from the inert to the
futuristic. “Do nothing” is standard fare on
any list of government options, Lamar said, laughing. Others
include a plasma arc facility — so sci-fi in its intent
of transforming garbage into a renewable source of fuel
that it’s only been built in a few locations; a large regional
transfer station for shipping -garbage to landfills out
of the region; a new regional
landfill; and a dramatically increased emphasis
on garbage recycling and composting, Walker said.”
the BOC was misled by the County Manager on the” value”
of membership in the Solid Waste Authority and what it would
mean for Jasper County. It appears as if Jasper would have
gotten in “just in time” to help finance the project and
maybe be the target area of a new regional landfill. The
discussion went as follows:
1. Request membership in Regional Solid Waste Authority—
• County Manager--When Jasper Co moved to NE Georgia RDC
there was an authority. Since we’ve been with NEGRDC we
haven’t participated. Joint
landfills are rapidly losing capacity. Effort to come
up with regional landfill or alternatives to deal with
waste. This will give Jasper a seat at
• Comm. Hill—is there a fee?
• County Manager--$400 per year.
• Comm. Hill— I think that’s
a good deal.
• Comm. Johnson reads and
says, “We must help with financing.” There’s
no requirement to participate in regional landfill and
help to finance.
• Comm. Bernard—we are opening
ourselves up to have the regional landfill [here in Jasper
County]. We should have an observer for one
year but not to join.
• County Manager-It is also about alternative methods
• Comm. Johnson—and “to provide financing”
• County Attorney—if you
get involved as a member, you will be obligated if other
counties vote. (Meaning, whatever the majority wants is
what Jasper will have to go along with if County wants
to or not.)
• Comm. Bernard—move to
defer until have more info.
• Comm. Hill—I think we need the RDC to come talk to the
• Vote 5-0 to defer
citizens learned about this vote and the possibility of
a regional landfill. Many of them had been instrumental
in stopping a regional landfill here in Jasper about 12-15
years ago. If there were a regional landfill, it would likely
be located in the Piedmont area of the County (Hwy 212 W,
Smithboro Rd., etc.)
Once again, CITIZENS, not
the Commissioners, gathered information, held meetings,
and then showed up at the BOC meeting to INFORM the Commissioners.
The discussion and comments went as follows:
by the County Manager to Commissioners as the meeting started
upon seeing many citizens attending--Regional Solid
Waste Authority was deferred from last meeting. RDC said
only Jasper & Newton were not members. This is only
a request from RDC; it is not required. I asked RDC what
would the financial commitment be. McGahee of RDC responded
back and said it would be a DUES ONLY obligation.
(TWG: Yeah, right—read attorney’s comments again
from 6.4.07 meeting.) There is concern from
the public. There is no reason why you have to do it. (This
was certainly a different tack from what the County Manager
presented at the 6.4.07 meeting.)
came public comments:
Forsythe—Against joining waste authority at this point
in time. Once you join you are stuck.
• Joe Johnston—solid waste resolution. Citizens had a
meeting last Saturday night. Questions—when,
by whom, and how is this in best interest of our county?
Do you have minutes of all
the RDC Regional Waste Auth meetings? If not, you don’t
know what is going on. I’ve requested
all the minutes from the RDC and Mr. Dove is going to
send them to me. Piedmont Solid Waste—this is what happened
in past. (Gave background as to what transpired.) (TWG
comment-- This was where PEOPLE, not commissioners, read
the entire agreement and put a stop to it 12-15 years
ago.) Mr. Johnston asked that the BOC table
at least 6 months and learn about it.
Told Commissioners, “This is as close as you can get to
political suicide.” He presented a petition with 170 signatures
• Comm. Bernard—I am against it in this county anywhere.
Afraid RDC will choose us as place where they will locate
landfill. We can observe.
• Mary Patrick—Where did the Resolution come from? Why
did County Manager type up this resolution if you had
not asked him to do so?
• Joe Morris—I live on Hwy 212. Concerned with Landfill’s
effect on air and water quality. No studies have been
done recently. If Jasper County decides to
enter authority, what rights does Jasper County have if
they don’t agree? Local people and
local gov’t have very little input once an authority takes
Cost? Seriously consider this—it will
be an issue if you vote it in after I’m dead and gone.
Regional Solid Waste Authority
• County Manager--RDC submitted request. RDC provided
• Comm. Bernard—move to not join.
• Comm. Hill 2nd for discussion.
• Comm. Pennamon—also
have concerns with local landfill. We need to look
at alternatives. Must monitor for
30 years when local landfill is closed. Comm. Pennamon
wants to go with contractor. We
can’t afford to stand on our own.
This was a heavy debate 10-12 years ago. I don’t see
that we are doing anything.
• Comm. Bernard—last year while I attended the RDC,
the biggest problem was the fact that they can’t find
any county to accept landfill. We should ask to sit
in on meetings.
• County Manager—Authority recommends items to RDC.
The RDC board makes the decision.
• Vote 5-0 to not join
Regional Solid Waste Authority.
TWG has concerns
with comments by two commissioners. During the June meeting,
Comm. Hill thought the Regional Waste Authority was a good
idea. Comm. Pennamon’s comments during the July
meeting should be of concern to all citizens—“we can’t afford
to stand on our own.” Even though he voted
not to join, Comm. Pennamon has made mention of shutting
down the current landfill on many occasions over last several
years. Comm. Pennamon feels that the landfill costs the
county too much money; however, there has been a delay of
several years in opening a new C&D landfill that is
projected to bring in significant revenue to offset costs
of the landfill. Other counties require builders and developers
to use the county landfill to dispose of waste; Jasper should
do the same to decrease costs of running the landfill to
the taxpayers of the County.
this county must keep their ears and eyes open. Items like
a Regional Landfill, Reservoirs, etc. will have an impact
on the taxpayers for generations and on the quality of life
in Jasper County.
** To keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed
as to where and how
their tax dollars are being spent.
** To keep the taxpayers abreast of local policies and
discussed and enacted.
** We advocate more open government, less government spending,
and lower property taxes.