Some Lee's Summit residents say something smells foul with a new proposal for the city's landfill.
Newberry neighborhood residents are up in arms because they feel they had next to no input in a contract proposal over the future of the city's landfill after being told the landfill would close.
“We have been dealing with having the city dump close to our neighborhood for many years and there are times where the smell is so bad that you really cannot be outside,” Pam Hart, a Newberry neighborhood resident, said.
By 2018 the dump will be full and must close. The new proposal for the site is a waste transfer station to collect and then hall out the city’s trash.
Before the City Council on Thursday night was a long-term contract with Heartland Environmental Services to build and operate that facility. The council voted in favor of the agreement 5-3 after two hours of discussion.
“This contract is for 20 years. In our minds that’s way too long,” Wayne Mixon, the Newberry HOA president, said.
“We have not been given enough time to understand the impact of a trash transfer station on us,” Marjie Desmond, a Newberry neighborhood resident, said.
City Councilman Derek Holland says that’s not true.
“Do not believe for one moment that this has been done behind closed doors. This has been debated … in every possible conceivable way in a public forum,” Holland said.
Neighboring residents are also concerned about air pollution, property values and traffic, as well as potential bird or rodent infestations.
The majority of public comments were dedicated to request to table the contract agreement.
Update: Councilman defends vote
Lee's Summit City Councilman Dave Mosby says he voted in favor of the proposal because it's what's best for the city.
"It allows the ability to fund the closure of the landfill which is important. The state of Missouri requires that to be 30 years of funding, so we needed that money," said Mosby.
Meagen Tripses, who lives nearby in the Newberry neighborhood, says the contract doesn't give the city enough oversight on Heartland Environmental Services plans and operation.
"There's no control over the odors, the smell, the traffic. The city hasn't even done a traffic study on how it is going to impact the local roads."
Tripses also accuses Councilwoman Diane Forte of acting against the will of the people she represents.
"She sat up there and said she was voting on behalf of all of the Lee's Summit residents, which I do understand that, but she's not the mayor. She is our district representative, and she's supposed to represent our constituents," said Tripses.
Tripses is working with others in her neighborhood to formulate a plan on how to work with the city to get their voices heard during the transition of the landfill from the city to HES.
Brian Abel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.