Commissioners explain why they denied the landfill proposal

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) -  An on-going debate in Russell County over a proposed landfill has come to and end, for now. Wednesday commissioners denied the landfill plans.

Months ago the Russell County Commissioners were approached with a proposal to build a landfill in south Phenix City and in a five to one vote, that proposal was denied.

This landfill is a hot-button issue that had the majority of residents speaking out in opposition.

"I didn't have one citizen to call me or write me and say they wanted the landfill. That sent a message to me," said Russell County Commission Chairperson Peggy Martin.

Apparently the message Russell County residents sent came across loud and clear. Five commission members agreed to deny the landfill proposal.

Martin said, "It says they can be in unity on a subject matter that affects the entire community and that's why you have to look at the whole picture."

Several residents talked about their concerns for building a landfill so close to the river and schools.

"I'm not against landfills totally, we have to have them, but on the river... no," Martin told News Leader Nine.

But one commissioner, Ronnie Reed, wouldn't let others sway his vote, "I've been here all my life and I know the people and I try to vote what's in the best interest of Russell County anyway. And I already figured this thing wasn't going to pass, but I don't like anyone to try and intimidate me or tell me how to vote."

Reed stressed the importance of new development in the area, "A commissioners' job is to try to promote business and industry, not discourage business from coming to Russell County. We need more jobs and I feel like this whole thing turned into a circus, and I don't like it."

Ultimately the proposal didn't pass, and for now, a landfill will not be built in Russell County.

Peggy Martin added, "I'm glad to get this behind us and it may come up again, who knows."

Russell County Commissioners brought up the point that this isn't the last time residents will have to hear about a proposed landfill. ADEM has the option to come back in six months with another proposal.

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