To sell or not to sell?

Published 3:37 am Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Southeast Berrien County Landfill Authority Board has listened to complaints from the public regarding the potential sale of the landfill and has responded.

Last week the board unanimously agreed to hire a consultant to conduct a feasibility study on the landfill to determine what should be done with it.

The sale of the landfill was put on hold in August, when the board approved a proposal to stop the sale process in order to pursue input from citizens and other governmental bodies about the issue.

Niles Township Supervisor Jim Kidwell, who made the proposal to bring in a consultant to do the study, said he hopes residents will contact him with any questions about the landfill. He will then forward them on to the consultant. The consulting firm has yet to be determined.

“For the people who do have questions, this is will be a way to get them answered. It’s a third party,” Kidwell said in an interview Wednesday.

The debate on whether or not to sell the landfill has been a heated one among the ten members of the board, each of whom represents one of the five municipalities that own the landfill.

Kidwell, who has been a proponent of selling the landfill, said he will support the recommendation of the consultant.

“I’ll be satisfied with whatever they come up with,” he said. “It will be a well-informed survey and it will be a public participating situation.”

Buchanan Mayor Carla Cole, who also sits on the board, agrees the study is important.

“I’m pretty open. We just have to look at this really hard,” she said.

Also at last week’s landfill board meeting, the board agreed to put out a national advertisement for the open landfill general manager position.

This comes after an earlier meeting when the search committee had recommended offering a contract to former manager Dave Jones, who retired several months ago. But the board decided by an 8-1 vote not to bring Jones back at last week’s meeting.

Kidwell thinks it’s time for a new person running the landfill.

“I think with a new approach and a new outlook to the way it’s being run that we can  make it more profitable,” he said.

The next landfill board meeting is slated for Nov. 24.

Residents of any of the five municipalities that own the landfill can contact their local landfill board member with questions they want forwarded to the consultant.