Thursday, February 12, 2009
In a recent Bryan City Council meeting, the Council adopted a resolution in support of a concept suggested by a Jan. 25 editorial in the Bryan-College Station Eagle. Some of our residents have asked for more information about the contents of the editorial, so we’d like to share it with them. The editorial is printed in its entirety below.
The Bryan City Council has made a public plea for elected officials in College Station to also heed the advice in the editorial and join us in creating a new governing board to oversee the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency.
Published Sunday, January 25, 2009
New entity needed to run landfills
Eagle Editorial Board
It is clear that the city councils of College Station and Bryan will never set aside their childish -- and unproductive -- squabbles over the construction and operation of a badly needed new landfill in Grimes County.
They can't even give a common description of the operation of the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency -- jointly created and equally owned -- to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state agency that oversees landfills.
The solid waste agency was created in 1990 through, in effect, a gentlemen's agreement between the two cities. The problem is that the councils and staffs are not acting like gentlemen and cannot reach agreement on operations of the Rock Prairie landfill and construction of the new one.
Bryan complains that it is being left out of major decisions about the current and future landfill. College Station notes that the agreement places it in charge of the day-to-day operations of the landfill and that Bryan is trying to interfere in those operations.
Further complicating the issue is the methane gas naturally produced at the Rock Prairie landfill. Bryan won a bid process to construct a facility at the site to turn that gas into electricity. College Station has balked at approving a contract for the project.
Obviously, the interlocal agreement on the solid waste operation isn't working and it doesn't look like it can be fixed. It is time to start over.
A new, legally constituted agency should be created by the two cities to build and operate the current and future landfills. An outside facilitator should be brought in to help the cities craft the incorporation documents and city staff who stand in the way should be removed.
A governing board made up of an equal number of representatives from each city should be created, with the chairman selected from the board members, alternating annually between the cities. The board would report to both city councils, but would not be subject to the whims of either council.
The College Station staff that has done such a good job operating the Rock Prairie landfill would become employees of the new entity, which would be funded by the operations of the landfill and, if necessary, contributions from the two cities.
It is time to move past the petty squabbling. A well-run landfill is critical to this community, particularly as it continues its rapid growth. No longer can we run the landfill on a handshake between two councils -- particularly these two councils.
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