By JEFF ENGELHARDT - jengelhardt@shawmedia.com

Cortland Township meeting includes consultation with lawyers

CORTLAND – A closed session to consult with attorneys for a potential lawsuit against DeKalb County has been added to today’s Cortland Township meeting agenda.

All Cortland Township residents will be allowed to participate in the closed session set to start about 7 p.m., 30 minutes after the beginning of the public portion of the meeting at the Cortland Lions Building at 70 S. Llanos St.

Cortland residents will meet with lawyers to decide whether the township should sue the county for approving a landfill expansion within the township limits despite township residents casting an official vote against the expansion. A state statute that has never been tested in court gives townships the right to refuse acceptance of trash.

Should residents vote to sue the county, discussions on how to cover the potential $20,000 to $30,000 cost of legal action also will take place, said meeting organizer Frankie Benson. One option could be a class-action lawsuit, where other townships could sign on to establish township rights over county authority.

Today’s decision from Cortland residents could be the final attempt at stopping the landfill expansion because the citizen-led Stop the Mega-Dump group has almost run out of legal options.

After challenging the county’s proceedings in its decision at the Illinois Pollution Control Board and appellate court levels, Stop the Mega-Dump is waiting to hear whether the Illinois Supreme Court will hear the case. A decision could be made this month.

The landfill expansion has been targeted as the funding source for a $27 million jail expansion project for the county to deal with major overcrowding issues.

The landfill would generate the revenue by charging a tipping fee for accepting other counties’ trash.

County officials hope the landfill expansion will start this spring, but it cannot proceed as long as legal challenges are pending.

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