In the status quo of the corrupt system in Illinois the rules favor the ‘stakeholders.’ They’re the partnership between our government and the corporations. A most devastating example of how we roll here in Illinois is the landfill expansion in Cortland.
There are millions of dollars at stake from the County’s and Waste Management’s perspectives. The landfill siting proceeding and jail expansion were connected projects with the jail expansion driving the outcome of the siting proceeding. The County Board passed a resolution in the fall of 2009 expressing a need for the jail expansion and identifying host revenues from an expanded landfill as the only feasible means of funding that expansion. That’s persuasive evidence of prejudgment.
From the public’s perspective there are numerous issues of public health, safety, and welfare, including allegations supported by expert testimony that hydrogen sulfide emissions from the existing landfill are contaminating the nearby community of Cortland and the newly built Cortland Elementary School, as well as allegations supported in the applicant’s own materials that Waste Management proposes to vertically expand the landfill over a disposal unit that is already leaking and impacting ground water.
The basis of government is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare but in the name of economic development and for the benefit of ‘stakeholders’ anything goes for a buck. In fact, the most basic form of government there is — township government — protects it residents from those residing in other townships from dumping garbage in their backyards.
Before the County Board approved the Host Agreement, Cortland Township trustees voted formally and unanimously to reject any expansion of the landfill in a March 9, 2009 resolution to the County Board. Not only did the County Board ignore the resolution they and Waste Management failed to disclose such opposition existed to the proposed expansion at the required Siting Application Public Hearing.
After the expansion was approved a township garage packed with more than 200 registered voters (electors) overwhelmingly rejected the expansion at a special annual meeting held in May, 2010. Apparently, even though the trustees and citizens of Cortland Township were relying on the authority provided the township under the Illinois Township Code (60 ILCS 1/30-120), which reads, “The electors may prevent the deposit of night soil, garbage, or other offensive substances within the limits of the township. This section does apply to refuse disposal facilities regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the county in which the facilities are located,” there’s no law to protect them from the county… according to the county.
Many have questioned the logic, or sanity, of siting a new grade school so close to an existing dump, already known to be leaking, much less one that leaks and has designs for a sevenfold expansion. A review of Town of Cortland meeting minutes strongly suggests that the location had much more to do for the benefit of passing a referendum than any would be consequences of building a school next to the landfill.
Then District 428 School Board President Mike Verbic and former Superintendent Paul Bielfuss asked the Town of Cortland to support the referendum (they aren’t supposed to do that) at a Town Meeting. The Town of Cortland told District 428 they wouldn’t support the referendum or sign on to an impact fee agreement unless a grade school was built in Cortland. Verbic told the town trustees that the referendum would be reduced by $15 million, and no school would be built in Cortland, if they didn’t sign on to the impact fee agreement by the deadline.
Protecting the health, safety and welfare of the residents? Or Let’s Make A Deal? You decide.
County Administrator, Ray Bockman, in a letter to IPCB Hearing Officer, Bradley Halloran, wrote:
Opponents of the actions of the County Board have frequently either misunderstood or misinterpreted the laws of this state with regard to the Host Fee agreement process. I understand their confusion and agree with them that this process merits change. The landfill expansion opponents need to stop blaming the County Board and start petitioning the Illinois General Assembly. The County Board followed the law to the letter — as it must.
Perhaps it is the proponents who have misinterpreted the law? Or misunderstood its intent? In either case Mr. Bockman agrees the process needs changed. But after reminding the IPCB that the application must be approved in 180 days he suggests residents start petitioning the Illinois General Assembly but do so only to save those in other communities because the County and Waste Management have a legally binding contract.
Frankie Benson, who was elected to serve as moderator for the May 2010 Special Annual Meeting of the Cortland Township Electors, has waited long enough for a response from the County Board on the legal vote of those township electors. She is following Bockman’s advice and has began petitioning legislators for their help in this miscarriage of government responsibility.
June 10, 2012
The Honorable Robert W. Pritchard
2600 DeKalb Ave.
Sycamore, IL 60178
Dear Representative Pritchard,
I hope this letter finds you well.
I am writing to you regarding the current landfill controversy in DeKalb County. One of the issues that has yet to be resolved involves an Illinois State Statute concerning the authority of the
townships to accept or deny the siting of a landfill. Here is the Statute to which I am referring:
Illinois Township Code (60 ILCS 1/30-120) Sec. 30-120.
“Garbage. The electors may prevent the deposit of night soil, garbage, or other offensive substances within the limits of the township. This Section does apply to refuse disposal facilities
regulated by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the county in which the facilities are located (Source: P.A. 82-783; 88-62)” (I added the underline for clarity)
On May 18, 2010, electors of Cortland Township met according to the township rules and procedures, and by the authority vested in us by the above Statute, approved a motion to disallow the expansion of the landfill. I have included a copy of the official minutes along with this letter.
At this time I, as an elector of Cortland Township, and as the elected Moderator for this vote, am requesting that you officially ask the Illinois Attorney General, under the authority granted you
by state statutes, for a written binding opinion on whether this statute is valid and is applicable to the proposed landfill expansion.
Thank you for your consideration.
Similar letters should be sent to: