CHICAGO | Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey, D-Chicago, remembers all too well the way government sometimes worked when he represented the city’s Northwest Side in the Illinois General Assembly.
It is because of those memories that Fritchey — a county commissioner since 2010 after serving 14 years in the Illinois House of Representatives — said Wednesday he wants Cook County government to have its own ordinance that prohibits landfills from operating within the county.
Fritchey introduced an ordinance proposal before the County Board, and officials without opposition referred the matter to the environmental committee. County officials say they expect to have that committee meet shortly after Easter, and it is possible the issue could come before the full board when it meets again April 17.
On the surface, the issue would appear to be settled, the General Assembly and Gov. Pat Quinn last year approved a state law that says landfills cannot operate in Cook County. But Fritchey said he fears that a future legislature and governor may try to repeal that law for politically partisan reasons.
“There are many noble things that are done in Springfield that get undone later,” Fritchey said, adding that if the county has its own ordinance banning landfills it would ensure that a ban remains in effect.
“Regardless of what is done in Springfield in the future, this will ensure that the intent of our actions in June (last year) remain in effect,” Fritchey said, referring to a resolution the County Board adopted urging the Legislature to approve the countywide landfill ban.
The ban was provoked by the desires of the Land and Lakes Co. that operated the River Bend Prairie Landfill at 138th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, which straddled the border between Chicago and Dolton.
The Chicago portion of the landfill was closed as a result of city moratoriums on landfill operations, but the Dolton portion was running. Land and Lakes officials wanted to have the entire landfill annexed into Dolton so it could operate at full capacity.
Without the shift, the Dolton portion will reach peak capacity later this year, and Land and Lakes officials already are beginning the process required under federal law to cap a landfill filled to capacity.
In other business Wednesday, the County Board awarded a contract to D Construction Inc. of Coal City, Ill., for work to be done this year in the ongoing project to improve Joe Orr Road near Lynwood, eventually extending it east to the Illinois/Indiana border. The company will receive $650,569.30 for improvements to 1,500 feet of the road.
K-Five Construction Co., of Lemont, will receive $2.62 million for work this spring on 138th Street between Ashland to Cottage Grove avenues in Dolton and Riverdale.
Also Wednesday, the board approved resolutions praising the government service of several suburban village presidents whose terms in office will end following the April 9 elections – including that of Jack Swan, who is not seeking re-election after 20 years as village president of Thornton.