Taxpayers Share Thoughts With Commissioners On Rockingham Co. Landfill Proposal

12:49 AM, Apr 3, 2012   |    comments
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Wentworth, NC -- Another packed meeting Monday night in Rockingham County over a proposed regional landfill.

Taxpayers took their turns telling commissioners their opinions about a proposal by PBK and Advanced Proposal to take over and operate the county's landfill.

The public comment forum comes almost a year after PBK submitted a proposal to use private land to operate a recycling facility and solid waste disposal.

The group recently submitted another proposal to take over the county's landfill, expand and turn it into a regional one instead.

Many county residents have been vocal about the proposal since the beginning and Monday night made that clear to the board of commissioners.

Of the 22 people who signed up to speak, only two said they supported PBK and Advanced Disposal coming to the county.

For the majority, the main theme was trust. They said they feel they don't know much about the group and are worried about traffic through town.

They also mentioned concerns about smell, noise, water contamination, air pollution and a decrease in overall quality of life.

"Why should Rockingham County be a dump for the other counties?" one woman said.

Bill Watson, another opponent, spoke to News 2, saying "I don't care what kind of buffer or what you put next to a river you're going to get waste seepage."

Thomas Harrington, chair of a local group who call themselves "The Will of the People" spoke for about 15 minutes. Several of his supporters yielded their three minutes to him.

He told the crowd, "I don't want to go and solicit other industries and say you've got to come to Rockingham County, we've got the biggest dump in the state."

Commissioners are in an awkward position as they consider the PBK and Advanced Disposal's offer.

For one, the majority of taxpayers speaking out are against the proposal, according to some commissioners and the county attorney.

However, the proposal could also generate lots of revenue for the county.

Attorney Eugene Russell said schools in the county recently lost some funding from the state and are now struggling for money.

The proposal offers millions of dollars in purchase price and continued revenue in taxes.

And that's the angle those who are for the proposal are really honing in on.

"People in this building behind me," William Osborne said pointing got the county government building. "Know that we've got some serious financial issues occurring. We've got to think down the road and we've got to have a solution."

At the meeting, the commissioner chairman made it clear the county itself doesn't need any emergency funds right now.

According to him, if they do choose to vote against this proposal, they would have other options to look into for revenue.

The commissioners also announced they are hiring a private consultant to investigate whether the landfill poses a threat to the environment, its capacity and other questions taxpayers have posed.

They hope to get a recommendation before they make any decisions.


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