Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 19, 2017

Residents express concern about closing rural sanitation sites

Aug 24, 2017

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News

 

County sanitation contractor Prottsman Sanitation and the Henry County supervisors want rural residents to increase their recycling efforts.

There is a problem, however. If county residents heed the call, where will the additional recycled material be housed?

Currently, the county has four rural satellite sanitation collection sites (Deerwood-New London, Trenton, Salem and Winfield). The county’s central site is behind the emergency management building on West Washington Street.

Several county residents weighed in on the matter Tuesday during the board of supervisors’ meeting. At issue appears to be whether or not to keep the satellite sites open. Supervisors have never said what, if anything, is going to happen to the rural sites.

However, at an Aug. 10 board meeting, Wade Hamm, general manager of the Great River Regional Waste Authority (GRRWA), said going exclusively to a countywide central location will provide more services to the county residents at one location.

A number of county residents evidently interpreted that to mean the county was going to close the rural sites. Marc Lindeen, supervisor chairman, said the county auditor has received 15 calls on the matter, eight favoring going to a central site and seven opposing it. Supervisor Vice Chairman Greg Moeller said he has had two phone calls with the callers on the opposite side of the fence.

Roger Gard of New London, one of about 10 residents attending Tuesday’s supervisor meeting, said he strongly opposed closing any of the rural sites. “It seems to be working. Why would we drop from four (sites) to one? What advantage would that be to residents?”

Lindeen said if the county went to a central site, hours at the central site would be greatly expanded. Gard countered that having a central site in Mt. Pleasant would be inconvenient to many rural residents.

“I work in Mt. Pleasant so it wouldn’t be all that inconvenient,” said Kelly Carr. “But if I didn’t (work in Mt. Pleasant), it would be inconvenient. You have to look at how the services you are providing are benefiting everyone. I don’t think one site in Mt. Pleasant would achieve that.”

Rich Mueller, rural Mt. Pleasant, also urged supervisors to proceed cautiously, remarking that taking out trash depository sites creates problems.

Supervisor Gary See said the county’s sanitation and recycling program have been funded for years by dollars from the local option sales tax (LOST). “LOST has always paid for county sanitation and it is a benefit to rural residents to have free sanitation. The program is for county residents only and county residential (trash) only. Commercial usage would be a violation.”

When the sanitation contract was awarded several years ago, Mike Prottsman and Lynn Whaley (WEMIGA) were the lone bidders. Prottsman won the contract, but Whaley has made several attempts to have the contract re-opened.

Another of those attempts came Tuesday when Whaley said if rural sites are closed, it would change the scope of the contract.

Prottsman, who also was at the meeting, said he had discussed the matter with County Attorney Darin Stater before the meeting and was told that eliminating rural sites does not change the contract.

“We are going to take input from residents, talk to the county attorney and do what is best for the county,” Lindeen pledged. He did not say when the supervisors would discuss the matter again.

Henry County Engineer Jake Hotchkiss also gave his weekly report to the supervisors. He said the contractor has completed the “hand work” around Grand Avenue last Saturday on the Winfield Avenue reconstruction project. A 60-inch crossroad pipe also has been installed under the road and the contractor is backfilling and removing pavement. Winfield is closed east of Iris Street to the U.S. Highway 218 overpass.

Access to businesses between Grand Avenue and Iris is from Iris, he said.

County crews are also in the midst of two smaller projects. They began working on a shoulder pull project on Benton Avenue from the intersection of Agency Road, north to 250th Street. The project is approximately 3.5 miles.

Today (Thursday), Merrimac Road, beginning at its intersection with Franklin Avenue, will be closed to the public while L.L. Pelling will be placing 600 feet of pavement. The project should be completed by Friday evening, Hotchkiss said, barring any weather delays.

Supervisors approved the application of a Living Roadway Trust Fund grant, not to exceed $23,100 for the purchase of a hydra seeder. Hotchkiss said the county is assured of receiving the grant. A new seeder will cost $64,255 which means just over $40,000 in county funds will be used for the purchase.

Work by the secondary-roads workers last week included working on signs; mowing shoulders; hauling rock to the Marsh Avenue shoulder pull project; prepping seeding equipment; working on the granular shoulders on Franklin Avenue; and hauling resurfacing rock to Tippecanoe Township.

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