EDITORIAL: More trash talk please

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Who’d have thought that the one issue that would get folks’ blood percolating in Marion County would have to do with something as mundane as disposing of our trash. The war of words is being waged on many fronts, but the bottom line is still the same: How are we going to get rid of our garbage?


Consider the variety of battle fronts:


— There’s friction between the county and city leaders about the value of a proposed interlocal agreement that would make the county the collector of fees on behalf of KC Development, the in-county transfer station. County commissioners feel the urgency to move quickly, lest the county be drawn into another lawsuit; city leaders don’t want to be pushed into something they feel they had no say in developing.


— Marion County is still trying to put to rest the former landfill southwest of Marion-and the controversy surrounding it. This issue is already in the courts. At a hearing this week, talk indicated that one option in the lawsuit might mean the old landfill would be reopened and even enlarged. And with it old wounds, no doubt.


— Marion City Commissioners voted 2-1 Monday to reopen discussions with Waste Connections, that huge company that was pursuing the possibility of developing and opening a new landfill at the Martin Marietta quarry north of Marion. The energy and emotion behind that debate threatened the cohesiveness of citizens in Marion and the surrounding area before Waste Connections backed off earlier this year. What will happen now?


Conflict is at the heart of each of these situations. Some of it is rooted in diverse and some would say opposing objectives-much of them having to do with money. In some cases the issues are confusing and complex. At least in the case of the county’s proposed interlocal agreement with the cities, it seems that clear and open communication would be a major step toward resolution. The meeting planned for tonight with city and county leaders could be a helpful start.


In each situation, it will serve us all well to tone down the rhetoric, speak honestly and patiently with each other, and try to arrive at reasonable resolutions. The alternative is to bury ourselves in a ton of verbal garbage that could reek for generations to come.

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