Several dozen concerned residents of the Spring Hill community gathered at the Good Hope Baptist Church Saturday to voice their concerns about current landfill contamination and a proposed lease agreement with a private waste company.
The landfill has been identified as having groundwater and air contamination issues that are being addressed through an approved corrective action plan. However, longtime residents recalled the county’s initial promises when the landfill was built in 1981.
“They assured us they were going to do it properly,” said Brenda Mullins. “Over 20 years later, we’re still in the same spot.”
“We’re talking about annihilating our community,” she said in reference to a plan that would see a private company take over the landfill and transform it into a statewide landfill.
Another resident expressed anger at what changes to the landfill would do to the value of nearby properties, especially in a historically black neighborhood.
“We don’t want no playground neither!” Someone shouted to laughter and applause, referring to plans to create a fund for community projects using payments from the company.
“If I’m going to buy a house, I’m going to hire a realtor,” said Aaron Belanger. “Take a minute, take a breath...We want to encourage the commissioners to hire the right people.”
Commissioner Nancy Schulz, who attended the event, assured the gathering that the board was taking the time to review the terms of the settlement.
She also said voting after Thursday’s scheduled meeting was “premature,” and she would not vote then.
Organizers reviewed facts about the landfill, read aloud a letter sent to state representatives, and made plans for further community action, including possible legal action.
“We need all the support we can muster at this [Thursday's] meeting,” said Charles Johnson.