Danedri Thompson
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Over vocal objections from several residents, county commissioners approved an update to Johnson County’s Solid Waste Management program last week.
The review and update, required every five years by state statute, recommends promoting the expansion of existing commercial recycling through education and awareness and suggests that county solid waste officials work closely to reuse and re-purpose construction waste.
Several objectors voiced their concerns about requirements, adopted by the board in 2012, that forced trash haulers to offer recycling, disallows yard waste going into the land fill, and to set limits on how much trash can be taken at a base cost from each dwelling.
“I don’t see where there’s been any review,” Dennis Batliner, Olathe, told the board. “…There’s not one thing in this plan that is accurate or truthful.”
Specifically, he said the vast majority of land fill is comprised of construction waste, however the recent countywide trash mandates apply to residents – not businesses.
Batliner said the county adopted recycling mandates based on lies. Solid waste officials at the time, said the landfill, owned by Defenbaugh in Shawnee, might be full in a number of years. However, shortly after recycling mandates were adapted, the estimates were revised showing that the landfill is expected to last through at least 2043.
“This has all been based on false and misleading information,” Batliner said.
Jerry Landers, Overland Park, said the mandates increased the cost of residential trash services. He worried, in particular, about the cost for lower income families.
“You sit up there and listen to the propaganda,” he said to commissioners. “Every dollar hurts. It’s one less doallar they have to spend on everything else.”
Batliner said his goal is to see the county’s 2012 solid waste code rescinded. He’d like to see line item billing from trash collectors allowing consumers to determine whether they’d like to pay additional fees for recycling.
Commission Chair Ed Eilert said the solid waste codes haven’t led to increased prices for all consumers.
“A hauler in my neighborhood is advertising rates that are lower than 2007,” Eilert said.
Eilert said he was not willing to vote against the update, in part, because the state set a deadline for the update that the county must meet.
Legal counsel said he wasn’t sure what the ramifications would be if the county missed it.
Commissioners Jason Osterhaus and John Toplikar voted against the solid waste plan update. Eilert and commissioners Jim Allen, Ed Peterson, Steve Klika supported the update.  Commissioner Michael Ashcraft did not attend the meeting.