EDITORIAL: Dispose of waste, not taxpayers' cash

2013-06-19T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Dispose of waste, not taxpayers' cash nwitimes.com
June 19, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The Lake County Solid Waste Management District Board is looking for options for disposing the county's trash. The board should make sure it doesn't dispose money in the process.

Chairman David Hamm has said the board should steer clear of commercially unproven processes. That's a clear reference to the ill-fated trash-to-ethanol proposal that was scuttled after developer Earl Powers was unable to secure financing.

That was the board's second attempt at a trash disposal project. As Sunday's story by Bill Dolan reminded us, the district's first proposal was costly.

Pulling the plug on the proposed Hickory Hills landfill plan will continue to cost Lake County taxpayers millions of dollars for years.

The waste district board cancelled the landfill project after south county residents began complaining the landfill could endanger the underground aquifer they use for drinking water and crop irrigation.

The $9 million the county agreed to pay Hickory Hills officials 10 years ago required borrowing money. Over the next 16 years, the county's taxpayers will pay more than $7.4 million for that loan. The principal now stands at $5.8 million.

Waste district Executive Director Jeff Langbehn said it is the only loan the district has ever required, but it's a whopper.

The failed trash-to-ethanol plan shouldn't cost the county any additional money. After all, developer Earl Powers didn't uphold his responsibilities under the contract because he never obtained financing.

But the district's board should be cautious as it seeks proposals for another way to dispose of the county's solid waste. Don't let additional county money go to waste.

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