Riverview officials worry about opposition to proposed landfill expansion

Neighbors say no

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW – With its current landfill reaching capacity, Riverview city officials are worried about neighboring community opposition to its proposed landfill expansion, on which it relies for revenue to fund city services.

The Trenton City Council unanimously passed a resolution Sept. 5 opposing the landfill expansion, citing truck traffic to and from the landfill that damages local roads, the odors coming from the site and the impact on air quality and environmental conditions to surrounding communities.

Trenton officials are opposed to a landfill entrance from King Road, and want the landfill to be accessed from either Sibley or Allen roads.

The Trenton City Council said it also wants an air quality monitoring system that would detect and address foul odors, citing the negative impact on surrounding neighborhoods and the lowering property values of houses downwind.

Trenton officials further suggested a joint recycling program in conjunction with the current waste disposal operations to protect the local environmental and extend the life of the existing landfill.

Riverview City Manager Doug Drysdale said at a Sept. 5 city council study session that he and his staff will address Trenton officials and residents at a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 11 at Trenton City Hall, 2800 3rd St.

Drysdale said he hopes the Sept. 11 meeting will let him answer questions and address concerns about the landfill expansion that is causing confusion. He said he hopes to alleviate resident worries.

There also is a Wayne County Solid Waste Board public hearing at 1 p.m. Sept. 14 at Arnaldo’s Banquet Center, 18275 Quarry, Riverview.

Drysdale said he will be at the Wayne County meeting with Land Preserve Director Bob Bobek, and Cornerstone Environmental project manager and engineer Jennifer Bowyer and President and CEO Ken Karl.

Drysdale said Bowyer is meeting with attorney Kerry Morgan of Pentiuk, Couvreur and Kobliljak to prepare to address answer questions from people opposed to the landfill expansion.

Pentiuk said Morgan will throw questions at Riverview officials in advance of the public meeting to prepare them for some of the questions they may encounter.

Drysdale said he and Swift are looking at local residential property values online to see for what prices area houses are selling, to address meeting questions about residential property value devaluation.

Councilman Bill Towle asked how the city would be impacted if it no longer could take waste to the landfill and no longer received revenue from it, and how much Riverview properties taxes might increase to make up for the revenue loss.

Drysdale said the city has a 1.5-mill operating millage for the  library and streets that would have to be pulled back into the general fund, and residents would have to vote on whether to levy a special millage for the library.

Drysdale said another millage would have to be levied for trash collection and disposal, which Riverview residents currently have courtesy of the landfill revenue, which is equivalent to about 1.2 mills.

“We’d have to haul it somewhere else and pay for disposal,” Drysdale said. “We are probably looking at another 1.5 right there, so there’s 3 (mills) right off the bat. If you go the lesser amount of 10 or 11 mills, that’s still about 8 mills you are looking for to make up the difference.”

Drysdale said the landfill revenue also pays for the city’s vehicles and building improvements, like the roof currently being put on the Department of Public Works building.

Swift said city officials have been busy telling their counterparts in nearby cities what the landfill means to them from a financial standpoint, and said he has met with all but two of the Downriver mayors.

“If our landfill closes, it impacts them significantly in the hauling of their trash,” Swift said. “It has got to go somewhere else if it doesn’t come to us.”

Swift said he informed local state legislative officials what the landfill means to Riverview’s financial status.

He said County Commissioner Joeseph Palamara (D-15th District), whose district 15 includes Riverview, Trenton, Southgate and Wyandotte, has gone on the record saying he is opposed to the landfill expansion based on the input he has received from his constituents.

“He’s proved again that he is really not a friend to Riverview,” Swift said. “I am just very disappointed.”

Swift said other state representatives are remaining neutral, saying that it is a local issue.

“We’re not looking for support, we’re looking to inform (them),” Swift said.

Swift said construction creates a lot of waste in addition to local households, and its cost would increase if the Riverview landfill closed.

“That material goes somewhere,” Swift said. “Most of the time it comes to us.”

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)