What appears to be the imminent demise of the controversial Greenhill P3 landfill contract occurred so swiftly at Tuesday’s BOC meeting that some who witnessed the action are still slack-jawed with disbelief.
For all practical purposes, the Greenhill proposal appears dead at the hands of at least four commissioners who have vowed to vote down the deeply flawed deal at the next BOC meeting. We will know for sure come July 21.
It’s a sweet moment for the citizen activists who for months fueled intense opposition, using extensive research, asking questions for which there seemed no answers and communicating with commissioners via emails, personal letters, published opinion pieces and daily Facebook posts.
The commissioners responded appropriately to the well-made arguments against the proposal that was largely hatched behind closed doors in the office of the county attorney. They said to the people, “We hear you.” They merit our thanks and respect on this issue. Now they are being asked to fund the solid waste committee to obtain professional engineering consultants to ensure their work is thorough and of long-lasting value.
More than one person, in fact, many people in Newton County, concur that the controversy around last year’s 2050 plan rollout woke a silent, even sleeping, electorate. And there has been no lack of issues and controversies since then that has kept them from falling back asleep.
This is a good thing – not that our county is swimming in controversies and potential disasters – but that citizens have found their voices. Issues like legal fees, governance, purchasing policies, budget shortfalls, inefficient management practices and an elusive, perhaps unneeded, reservoir unite people of all stripes. All they want – all we want – is a better Newton County. Progress may come in baby steps or big steps, but even inch-by-inch, the goal of a better Newton County is getting closer. Would that the commissioners would now move citizen comments from the end of the meeting to the beginning so they will hear the people’s voices before votes are taken.