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Our View: Electors’ vote a small win for taxpayers

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

The special meeting of Cortland Township electors Thursday produced a small victory for taxpayers.

The meeting of about 75 registered voters from Cortland Township – about 1 percent of the township’s population – was at times chaotic and contentious. It yielded a resolution that said the township board should take Waste Management to court over its plan to expand the landfill south of Cortland, but only if supporters of the action raise $60,000 and present it to the township.

At a minimum, it appears that the residents of Cortland Township at large won’t have to bankroll this last-ditch legal effort.

But it really seems like its time for letting this issue drop.

As we’ve said before in this space, the township’s legal argument – that electors’ 2010 vote against the expansion of the Cortland Landfill overrules the decision of the DeKalb County Board and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency – is flimsy.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Act lays out in detail the process for approving landfills, and gives the authority for their approval to counties or municipalities and the IEPA. It makes no mention of townships.

If people want to launch a drive to raise $60,000 for a cause, why not make it one that will achieve some tangible results for people here in DeKalb County?

Many local organizations that perform essential services for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities are in need of donations. It seems like a waste to put that money into the pocket of an out-of-town law firm rather than keeping it here.

The reasons why people object to this proposal are clear. The idea of accepting trash from as many as 17 other counties gives one pause. A few live near the landfill site. Others balk at the idea of so much trash being trucked into the area.

But this all was heard and decided years ago.

The Cortland Township board and electors are expected to take the issue up at their annual meeting April 16. If the Illinois Supreme Court declines to hear the final appeal from the Stop the Mega-Dump group, Waste Management might have already begun work on a landfill expansion by then.

As we await the endgame in this saga, at least we can be satisfied that taxpayers will not be footing the legal bills.

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