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Panel says city should stick with Shaw for landfill testing

City also set to vacate rest of Edwards Street

Published: Thursday, May 30, 2013 10:10 a.m. CDT

The city of Morris’ Health and Sanitation Committee is recommending the council continue to use Shaw Environmental for testing at Community Landfill.

The committee met Tues-day to discuss a contract renewal with Shaw for landfill gas and greenhouse gas monitoring at the landfill located on Ashley Road.

“For years they have been doing our landfill gas monitoring and reporting at Community Landfill,” said Mayor Richard Kopczick Wednesday. “In the last few years, the U.S. (Environmental Protection Agency) requires greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting and Shaw has done this.”

The council will vote on the contract at the June 3 meeting. The fee for Shaw’s services is $55,620 a year.

The city has committed to paying for these services since Community Landfill has not.

“We entered into an agreement years ago through the circuit court that we would do this. We are not taking any ownership (of the landfill), but to be good stewards of the environment and to protect the health and welfare of our citizens (the city takes responsibility for the testing),” said Kopczick.

The city and Community Landfill have been through continuous litigation in court due to the landfill company’s lack of fulfillment of its contract with the city.

All through the court battles over the years, the city has maintained it owns the land along Ashley Road on which the landfill sits, but Community Landfill owns the landfill itself and, therefore, is responsible for the closure of the landfill. By not doing the closure procedures, the city said, the landfill company is in breach of contract.

The court sided with the city and Morris was awarded in 2011 about $17.4 million in damages. This is the amount the Environmental Protection Agency estimated it would cost to close the landfill.

In other business, the Street and Alley Committee also met Tuesday and discussed Morris Hospital and Healthcare Center’s request for the city to vacate the remaining half of Edwards Street.

Years ago the city vacated half of the street when the hospital purchased the old Garfield School property, said Kopczick. The other half still had populated homes on it so the city continued to control it.

“Now it owns everything on both sides of Edwards Street,” said the mayor of Morris Hospital.

“The hospital has no immediate plans, but, however, now it can look at future planning for the overall development of the campus of Morris Hospital,” he said.

The city and the hospital have to work on the legalities still, but the the committee approved moving forward with the vacation process.

It will go before council at a later date.

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