LETTERS: Do we need a ‘Mayor of Marion County?’

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
After attending last Tuesday evening’s mayors meeting in Hillsboro, I must admit to some confusion as to what was afoot.


Marion County commissioners had been summoned to this meeting to receive a set of proposals that came out of the closed-to-the-public-and-press mayors’ meeting earlier this month. The proposals would significantly change a contract made and signed between Marion County and KC Development, operator and owner of a municipal solid-waste transfer station.


The power of decision-making on solid-waste disposal is with the Marion County Board of Commissioners, as dictated by the Kansas state statute.


The transfer station method of disposal and the contracting for those services conforms to the Marion County Solid Waste Plan and the Central Kansas Regional Solid Waste Authority Plan, which are the only solid-waste plans recognized by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for Marion County.


Two years ago, Mayor Delores Dalke led an effort that was successful in torpedoing a county-wide recycling plan, and her obvious leadership of the mayor’s group Tuesday night indicates her sights are now on the transfer station.


Maybe a new position needs to be created. It could be called “Mayor of Marion County.” Mayor Dalke would hold this position for as long as she wants and could override any decision made by the elected Board of County Commissioners. The closed meeting of the mayors’ club would then become legitimate as the best way to attend to the people’s business.


There is a made-to-order project for this new layer of government, and it is right in line with their favorite topic, solid waste. The mayors’ society should have a flurry of closed meetings and produce a plan to close the former landfill near Aulne. If they work fast, they could beat the county commissioners. It will be a contest.


Since the mayors represent the largest single group of solid-waste generators, they might be the best ones to make and fund a comprehensive closure plan. In the spirit of fair play, the shortcut of just saying we will let Waste Connections, Inc., pay for it will not be allowed. That plan lacks creativity, grit and ingenuity.


I have one last question of the mayors. Noticing Harve Ebbers and Rick Adams, both of Waste Connections, Inc. (formerly BFI) in the ranks of observers last Tuesday night, I just wondered: Do they ever get to attend the closed and private mayors’ meetings, too?


Harry E. Bennett


Marion

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