County hears from citizens opposed to landfill expansion, and engineers on why design is safe, finances sound

VIROQUA, Wis. – The Vernon County Board of Supervisors gave a green light to expanding the county owned and operated landfill back in October when it voted 14-3 to add another 15 years of capacity to the facility. But even with that fairly strong vote of approval, the tension over the expansion the landfill was evident at three separate meetings last month.

Citizens opposed to the landfill meeting in Viroqua

County residents opposed to the expansion for various reasons held a informational meeting at The Commons in Viroqua on Monday, Feb 12. Those who attended raised concerns about groundwater safety, monetary feasibility and outside waste. Some residents have been opposed to the expansion from the start of the process, but even more residents became vocal when a letter from the Department of Natural Resources asking questions and seeking more information about the 2,300 page feasibility study was released to the public before the before county personnel were able to address it.

Vernon County committee at odds over control of waste and recycling

Tempers flared at the Vernon County Infrastructure Committee (that oversees solid waste) when they met on Tuesday, Feb. 13. County Solid Waste Administrator Stacie Sanborn and County Board Chair (and Infrastructure Committee Chair) Lorn Goede questioned the legal opinion of County Corporation Counsel and were defeated when they asked to go to outside legal counsel for another opinion. The committee also voted down a recommendation by Sanborn to reject a hauling permit for GFL Environmental

Vernon County Board of Supervisors hears from landfill experts

And finally, the Vernon County Board of Supervisors tackled the issue on Thursday, Feb. 15. at it’s regular monthly board meeting and heard a report from Landfill Administrator Sanborn clarifying the landfill’s finances. They also heard a presentation from an engineer and a hydrogeologist with the firm that conducted the feasibility study about the geology of the landfill site and the multiple systems in the design to protect groundwater.

Some history of how we got here

It is estimated that the Vernon County landfill will most likely be full within about a year and a half at current rates of volume. It generally takes about four to five years to get DNR approval to site or expand a landfill. Vernon County Solid Waste Administrator Stacie Sanborn engaged the engineering firm Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH) to do a feasibility study at the site to determine if the site meets DNR requirements for expansion. That 2,368 page feasibility study is required by the DNR and was completed and submitted to the DNR for review in October.

The expansion will take place in three phases and cost the county several million dollars, but will also produce an estimated $20 million to $25 million in revenue over the life of the expansion. For more detail on the history of the landfill, the expansion and the debate over whether to keep the facility open, you can read our previous story here.

You an read our story about the Viroqua City Council decision to send their waste to the county facility here.

You can read about an effort to sign contracts with sign

Citizen meeting at The Commons in Viroqua – Monday, Feb 12.

Concerned citizen meeting at the Viroqua Commons on Feb. 12

Three people presented the bulk of the information at a citizen meeting at The Commons in Viroqua on Monday, Feb. 12. Tom Lukens described himself as a concerned citizen who had presented his concerns to the Vernon County Board of Supervisors and various committees over the last four years. Lukens spoke about financial feasibility concerns with the landfill along with Kelvin Rodolfo, a retired geologist from the University of Illinois, who moved to the area in the early 2000s and lives about a mile form the landfill. KJ Jacobson is a Viroqua resident who said she has a background in forensic accounting and presented some financial analysis regarding the solid waste budget.

Lukens objections to the landfill expansion have been similar over the last several years but were amplified recently when the county received a “Letter of Incompleteness” on December 19, 2023. In a recent county committee meeting it was revealed the letter was released to Lukens and others after an open records request from the attorney who represents GFL Environmental (formerly Southwest Sanitation), the county’s largest waste hauler. County officials said the letter was released from the DNR to members of the public even before they had received it.

Lukens contended the letter is proof the landfill should not expand because of the questions raised about environmental issues. County officials, including Sanborn, and SEH Engineer Brian Kent who put the county feasibility study together have said a letter of incompleteness from the DNR is a normal part of the process and was fully expected.

The letter does ask a number of detailed questions about groundwater issues and asks for more investigation to answer specific areas of concern. In the Feb. 12 meeting Lukens said the county is focused on the failure of the 60 mil geotextile liner at the bottom of the landfill that collects water the infiltrates that garbage, or leachate. In a recent written statement to the county board Lukens said it is the geology underlying the landfill site that makes expanding our landfill potentially catastrophic.

“Had today’s hydrologic conductivity techniques been available originally, it would never have been sited there in the first place,” said Lukens “The land on which the landfill was built is karstic with soluble dolostone voids beneath it. This fact is evidenced by the landfill’s own well logs and test well data that clearly show “fractured and preferential flow” – a direct quote from DNR’s Incompleteness Determination Letter. It is under these karstic dolostone conditions that the odds of liner failure greatly increase and ground water contamination becomes far more serious. The DNR’s Incompleteness Letter went on to state that these conditions mean that monitoring
well data will be unreliable and their required confidence in the data collected will be questionable.

Lukens went on to say there are several other reasons the landfill should not be expanded including the fluctuating volumes of waste, being one the smallest landfills in the state and being county owned and operated. Lukens said the “spoke and hub” model makes more sense and would offer efficiency of size. That would mean a company like GFL would consolidate waste at a transfer station like to one they currently operate in Viroqua and haul the waste to its facility that it owns and operates in Eau Claire.

“There are 25 landfills in Wisconsin,” said Lukens. “There are 72 counties and only nine of them want anything to do with a landfill. So, we are bucking the trend when it comes to municipal landfills. We are the smallest municipal landfill in Wisconsin. Why is that important? It takes volume to support a landfill. It’s tipping fees that support a landfill.”

Proponents of the local facility ownership say that kind of structure offers the benefit of local control, meaning the facility is run by local committee with public meetings, the county controls the fees and cost of operations, is more transparent with environmental practices and eliminates long distance transportation costs. Sanborn has also made the case that by having a county run facility they are able to offer services to townships, and some municipalities, that are not offered anywhere else like hazardous materials cleanup days, tire disposal, e-cycling of electronics and sorted recycling materials for townships. Proponents of local ownership also point out that the facility is built above and beyond state and federal standards, and that is not likely the case at a privately run facility.

Lukens said his main objection to the landfill had to do with economics, stating the solid waste department operated in black in only one of the last 10 years and referred to a handout provided by Jacobson (below). Jacobson would later say the analysis was based on county audit numbers. Lukens went on to say that now that GFL no longer has a signed agreement to haul its waste to the county and is hauling much its volume to Eau Claire, the county will not have sufficient revenue to remain open. Lukens said he estimates GFL could haul out as much as 10,000 tons or over half of the counties volumes. The city of Viroqua has agreed to send all of its waste to the county landfill for at least the next year regardless of the hauler.

Table above created by KJ Jacobson, citizen.

Another issue that Lukens raised with another handout by Jacobson (below) was the long-term care and closure costs. Vernon County is required to to set aside funds to close the landfill and take care of for at least 40 years following closure. The DNR tells the county every year how much it estimates the county needs to set aside in that fund to keep it a sufficient level to cover those costs. Lukens and Jacobson said it appears the facility is not in compliance with the maintenance of those funds and was behind in keeping enough set aside to cover those long-term-costs.

The information handed out at the Feb. 12 meeting speculated that the facility was had an “uncovered liability to the tune of $891,719. It is a 20% shortfall.”

Table above created by KJ Jacobson, citizen.

Geologic concerns

At the Feb. 12 citizen meeting Kelvin Rodolfo presented a detailed geological analysis that he said shows why no landfill should ever be placed on a karstic geology. Kelvin Rodolfo is retired geologist who taught at the University of Illinois.

Rodolfo presented a series of slides with his analysis.

The main point of Rodolfo’s presentation is that there are no state restrictions on placing landfills and the data used for karst geology is based on eastern Wisconsin karst that is not the same as our area. Rodolfo said the water table underlying are area are regional and localized, meaning the potential to contaminate a wider area exists.

Rodolfo said the possibility of collapse of a sinkhole or underground cave would likely cause a void beneath a landfill and that would in turn cause a failure and contamination of underlying groundwater.

Rololfo went on to show the rates of water movement, or conductivity, from the wells at the landfill site show much higher rates of water conductivity than previously expected, further increasing risk to groundwater.

Rodolofo’s conclusion is that landfills should never be sited in karst gelology.

Vernon County Board of Supervisors meeting – financial concerns addressed – Thursday, Feb 15

Vernon County Board of Supervisors meeting, Feb 15 – public comment at the beginning and the Solid Waste Department update starts at about the 41 minute mark

Vernon County Director of Finance Bobbi Johnson addressed the issue of revenue and income for the landfill first. She presented the chart below and explained the numbers. Johnson said one of the issues that has been a subject of a lot of debate related to these numbers is the issue of depreciation. Sanborn stated in previous meetings that the solid waste department and had not previous included depreciation in their budget until this year. That caused some of the statements of income and loss to change, including when looking back at previous years. Johnson explained how the calculations were made.

“Part of our operating loss…income loss calculation is depreciation,” said Johnson. “And it’s been said that that depreciation is not like monetary value so it doesn’t it is a value that relates to our net position, but it’s not a cash value. That is correct. If you decide we’re not depreciating any assets, which is not a well thought out financial plan going forward, as a business we would look a little better, however because we are operating as a business, we are an enterprise fund, we do have fiduciary responsibilities. We are going to include depreciation and or amortization in our operating loss.”

Johnson also pointed to the bottom line of the chart that shows “cost revenue ratio” that shows how much it costs to earn one dollar. As an example in 2014 it cots the department .79 cents to earn one dollar. In 2019 it cost $1.02 to earn one dollar.

Supervisor John Pedretti asked why revenue was down 23.57 percent in 2023 and what the landfill was going to do to address the drop. Sanborn said the drop was volume related with the biggest drop coming in October, but went on to say the budget for 2024 was based on about half the 2023 numbers.

“But we will have to develop a plan to get some of our volume back moving forward,” said Sanborn.

County Board Chair Lorn Goede asked Johnson to clarify how much tax levy is used to run the land fill.

“How many dollars of Vernon county tax levy is involved in the recycling and solid waste right now?” asked Goede.

“At this point the landfill has not received any property tax levy,” said Johnson. “And that could change depending on operational plans and financial management going forward to fund operations and capital items.”

Supervisor Martha Olson asked if an insurance check (for several hundred thousand dollars) that had been received for a piece of equipment that had burned up was counted in the numbers presented. Johnson said that number was reflected in the 2023 numbers.

Supervisor Alycann Taylor said she sees that income as an asset.

“I don’t think you can fault that for being an asset,” said Taylor. “If it’s an asset when it’s in equipment then it should be allowed to be an asset on a financial report. So I feel like sometimes we’re saying you can’t claim that because that wouldn’t be a true number, but if you’re gonna run like a business, like you’re saying, you would claim that asset.”

Johnson said that would be counted as a cash asset.

“I just, you can’t have it both ways,” said Taylor

Taylor said she was listening to the concerns about groundwater safety but said she sees the solid waste department and its fiances differently.

“The financial piece, I do have a little different view on it,” said Taylor. “I know enterprise funds should be close to breaking even, and we should run it like a business. It’s also a service that the county provides.”

Taylor said in looking at the numbers, even with including depreciation the county was showing roughly a $200,000 loss. Dividing that loss across 30,000 residents in the county is a very small number. And, Taylor said, if you look at the cash position of the department it was breaking even.

“That is a very small piece,” said Taylor. “Like you are breaking even then if you break it down by how much it costs to handle garbage per individual. So, I’m only offering that because many people believe that this is a utility that should be offered as a service to the residents.”

Sanborn reported that the end of the year numbers for the department in 2023 showed they did make a profit in terms of cash for the solid waste and a slight loss in recycling.

Long-term care and closure costs

Sanborn said there was a lot of confusion after the January County Board of Supervisors meeting where a discussion about long-term care and closure costs may have left the impression with some that the funds were $800,000 or over a million dollars behind. Sanborn said the department had two accounts where those funds are kept locally. One of closure and one for long-term care. Sanborn said the numbers used in that meeting from 2022 but the current combined balance of those two accounts is $3,815,653. Sanborn said the required amount from the DNR is $3,835,696. That is about $20,000 difference.

“The total liability on the balance sheet for the long-term care enclosure is the estimated cost we need we would need at the time of closure,” said Sanborn. “The county at the point, of the 2022 numbers, had three years remaining to earn interest in deposit funds, and to fulfill the account prior to closure. Since the 2022 audit the long-term care and closure balance has grown $247,700. The department has made a deposit last year in March of $155,000. The rest is increased interest revenues.”

Sanborn said there were a couple of years where the funds earned no interest and these funds have now been moved to higher yielding accounts and since March of last year have earned over $110,000 in interest.

Sanborn said now that the county has agreed to move forward with the expansion the care and closure plan will be recalculated. Since the expansion of the landfill is to one side of the existing landfill, about half of the existing portion can be closed starting in about 2025. That will change the calculation for the remaining portions care and closure costs. Sanborn added the care closure total will now be calculated in the 15 year expansion or 2040.

Between now and that closure date the solid waste department will continue to make deposits into those funds based on DNR calculations and there will be interest earned. Sanborn said the DNR calculations are based on the funds using the interest to make sure the money is available to spend about $74.000 a year, in today’s costs, to continue to pump out leachate and maintain the facility.

Sanborn said she was informed by the DNR that the county is in compliance with all closure and long-term care requirements. Henry said part of the reason the county is running out of space was because GFL (the county’s largest hauler) was hauling in outside waste which filled the landfill sooner.

“So with our loss of revenue is because that business sold (Southwest Sanitation to GFL) we are now starting to get people different haulers coming in,” said Henry. “Personally I think it’s great that we slowed down the flow. Our taxpayers are paying this not Monroe, not Crawford, not anywhere else. This is a service for our residents. We have 30,000 residents. We just said this is their service. I’m not interested in hauling in a destination landfill, but I am interested in providing a service for for our people.”

Henry asked Sanborn if the landfill is feasible moving forward given the fluctuations in volumes that have occurred.

“I’m concerned about our geological area,” said Henry. “I worry about that, but if our landfill is closed where’s everybody going to dump their stuff? In sink holes. That isn’t done safely.”

Sanborn said the facility averaged around 15,000 ton per year until about 2018 when the county changed its ordinance and allowed outside waste to come into the county and they gained about 5,000 ton per year. Sanborn all of her estimates for future operation are based on that average volume of 15,000 ton per year.

Geologic questions addressed

Presentation at the Vernon County Board of Supervisors meeting from SEH Engineer Brian Kent and Hydrogeoligist Melanie Niday on the design and safety of the Vernon County Landfill

Brian Kent is the Project Manager with SEH who put the county feasibility study together, and Melanie Niday is a hydro-geologist with SEH who did much of the geologic investigation contained in that study. They presented the information to the board to try and answer the questions about the questions in the letter from the DNR, and the concerns raised by community members about the safety of the proposed design of the landfill.

To view the the entire presentation from Kent and Niday you can click this link.

Niday first went through the analysis of the existing landfill design and how it is functioning. Niday said the existing landfill was built above state and national standards and is functioning properly based on a number their analysis. That analysis included 95 site borings and 22 test wells that are tested semiannually.

Niday said with the proposed expansion they have increased the number of wells to 27 and done more borings. The expansion would be built over and above the requires standards just like the original siting. The design includes multiple layers of protection like the 60 mil liner that is tested for leaks down to a pinhole. Five foot clay liner (four feet is required). A leachate collection system that has a higher than required grade to help it drain faster. And, Niday said, the site has large separation from bedrock (25-60 feet) and groundwater (over 75 feet). In addition to those protections Niday described the mutiple layers of soil between the bottom of the landfill that all have high absorption characteristics.

In addition to the those layers of protection, Niday said the site sits on a perched water table that does not reach the regional water table below. Niday said the the groundwater is essentially caught there providing another layer of protection.

Niday also addressed the concerns about siting on karst geology. Niday said Karst typically has sinkholes, sinking streams, caves and springs. Niday said she could not find any of those features on the site and concluded the site is not a karst site but psuedo-karst geology. She went on to say that is likely due to the fact that bedrock is very deep under ground and does not get enough air to combine with water needed to dissolve rock and form those karst features.

Niday said all of that adds up to a site that provides nine layers of protection and redundancy. Niday said she has been a part of siting landfills in many states over about 30 years and this site has the most protection of any site she has ever worked on.

“I worked on a lot of landfills in a lot of States,” said Niday. “And I say that this is the most protective one I’ve ever worked on. And that’s really, I you know when I think about it, it kind of surprises me…but remember our rules are built on protecting the groundwater”

Vernon County Infrastructure Committee meeting – tempers flair over request for outside council

At the Feb. 13 County Infrastructure Committee meeting Solid Waste Administrator Sanborn requested that her committee allow her to seek outside council to get an opinion on the ability to contract with municipalities to bring their waste to the county facility.

“I’d like to seek alternative legal services for the solid waste and recycling department,” said Sanborn. “I’d like them to review the hauler contracts, MOU’s, flow control ordinance, all the letters we’ve been receiving from attorney Speerschneider (GFLs attorney) and any other landfill matters including GFL contract remedies, and any ongoing matters for the solid waste and recycling department.”

Sanborn said she has investigated what other units of government are doing to ensure adequate volume to operate their facilities and has a number of examples of facilities are doing things she has been denied the ability to do.

“I’m making this request because as I investigated the town host agreements of the other municipal landfills across the state,” said Sanborn. “I found out that several other municipally owned landfills are utilizing contracts, MOUs and flow control via their responsible unit to ensure they receive adequate waste volumes to operate their facilities. I find it unreasonable to think that all these other municipally owned landfills can employ the these strategies but we cannot. Current Corporate Counsel stated that these modes of waste securement are illegal flow control, current corporate Counsel gave the county guidance that we could, and needed to implement historically a flow control ordinance in order to secure Vernon County’s waste stream. That ordinance cost the county tens of thousands of dollars and legal fees to draft and get on the County Municipal Code which it is, and now that same Corporate Counsel stating it’s illegal for us to enforce and use that ordinance.”

Sanborn handed out documents with examples from Dane County (rebate program), Marathon County (Memorandum of Understanding), Outagamie County (responsible unit agreements with municipalities), Lincoln County (discount agreements), City of Janesville (hauler agreements), Brown County (municipal agreement), La Crosse County (contracts with Xcel Energy and haulers).

“Right now the Solid Waste Department is being billed for legal fees,” said Sanborn. “What is the harm in seeking an additional opinion on all these things? Because this right now is about the only way we can contract and work with any any of the municipalities, any of the haulers right now we just approved a permit for a hauler and it’s just a permit. It’s not a big deal and we have no enforceability right now.”

Sanborn referred to legal opinion given by the city of Viroqua attorney that indicated that the city had the right to direct their waste wherever they choose, which seemed to contradict the opinion of County Corporation Counsel Nikki Swayne.

“That is another attorney giving the city of Viroqua guidance that they do have the ability to direct their waste,” said Sanborn “Which our counsel is now stating, none of these MOUs are legal because we can’t be requiring these things.”

Here is our previous story about the county attempt to implement MOUs with towns, cities and villages.

“It’s not the same, ” said Supervisor Charlie Jacobson. “They are two different things. The city has the right to send it where they want. The question is can the county direct everybody for it to come there?”

Vernon County Board of Supervisors Chair Lorn Goede

“I’m going to talk about one thing,” said County Board Chair Goede. “And that is the fact that our counsel (Corp Counsel) drafted this thing it was with counsel’s blessing that we put it out and after she put it out and it was it was all good, then she says no it’s not good. That’s one thing. The other thing is the county paid thousands of dollars to have this ordinance drafted, so that, and sitting on Solid Waste committee for years, we’ve always been under the assumption that all we have to do is click yes we’re going to enforce flow control because we have our problems that we had with our ordinance corrected. And then all of a sudden when we talk about doing that, it’s like oh no, you can’t do that. Well this is the counselor that said we can do that.”

Goede said his interpretation of state law is that the county can enforce flow control.

“We’re also we are a resource recovery facility (RRF),” said Goede. “No doubt. That’s part of being able to enforce flow control. We are the responsible unit of government. We are given the
responsibility financially to control our garbage. The government hasn’t done that with anything else, only garbage. And because they have given us that responsibility they’ve also given us the ability to do flow control to make sure that we are financially stable. This ability, not to be able to
go out to Citizens places and collect their recyclables and all their glass and stuff like that we’re the responsible unit to for doing that.”

Goede was referring to the solid waste departments recent attempt to help county business owners who had been turned into the DNR for not recycling after switching waste haulers. Sanborn started a recycling route for those businesses and was later forced to stop the program after the county received a cease and desist from Attorney Speerschneider who represents GFL.

Supervisor Martha Olson said her understanding was the problem with the MOU is that it offered a rebate. Sanborn said the rebate was added as the result of a meeting with Corp Counsel and she was advised the rebate made it more enforceable.

Sanborn said she also sent an email to Corp Counsel to get approval of the recycling program. County Administrative Coordinator Cassandra Hanan said Sanborn implemented the pilot recycling program before getting committee approval and before Corp Counsel could see how it would be implemented.

“Stacie implemented the program before the policy to implement the program was officially approved by this committee,” said Hanan. “The implementation piece of it was never presented to Nikki (Corp Counsel) which is part of the reason this is a closed session item. So I don’t want to go too far into it right now.”

“We were all blindsided that it was even happening,” said Olson.

Sanborn said the county has always provided recycling services at various levels and the pilot program was not a policy change.

“We already provided recycling services to several businesses through all the years that facility has been operating,” said Sanborn. “Actually, at one point the Solid Waste Department was hauling recycling for Southwest Sanitation out of the city of Hillsboro. .. I assume the policy is already set we’ve been providing recycling services to businesses and residences alike.”

Sanborn again asked for the ability to get another legal opinion.

“How can every other municipal landfill in the state contract?” asked Sanborn. “And utilize MOUs? How can they do that and all of a sudden little Vernon County can’t?”

“We want solid waste and recycling to be successful,” said Goede. “And to be successful we’re
going to need some of these tools that are being denied us.”

“I’ve been with this department since since 2015,” said Sanborn. “In charge since 2018,
and we’ve been receiving conflicting information. Like they drafted the flow control ordinance. Here is the draft that I got emailed that we couldn’t enforce something like that. Why would we
go through all the steps to put it on the county books that was all done under legal advisement. So, I’m, please, I’m just asking for it to be able to reach out to another attorney”

Hanan asked who would pay for the legal work and asked if she had budgeted for legal services. Sanborn said in prior years she was directed to send all legal bills to the legal affairs committee and now she is paying for legal services out of the solid waste budget again.

Olson said Corp Counsel had done a lot of work and research on the opinions she has given the county and their committee.

“And then she changes her mind,” said Goede.

At that point Corp Counsel Swayne had entered the meeting and responded to Goede.

“I haven’t had an opportunity to respond that I do have my livelihood and my legal career,” said Swayne. “And I cannot allow false statements to be made in an open meeting about me and my professional reputation without having an opportunity to be heard. It’s called defamation.”

“We’re not defaming you,” said Goede. “We’re wanting a different opinion (outside counsel).”

“I’ll also caution the committee that if you go with outside counsel, any counsel you get, their advice is only as good as the facts the client provides,” said Swayne. “Omissions need to be watched for. Presenting issues and facts in a vacuum will contaminate and influence the opinion you receive.”

“Is that perhaps why some things had changed?” asked Supervisor Kyle Semke.

“100 percent,” said Swayne.

“If my department is being billed for legal services regardless of who the attorney is,” said Sanborn. “And if I am able to seek outside legal advisement on all of these issues, if there is the ability to contract with haulers, or municipalities, because if I’m able to do that, then I can go out and contract waste volumes to be delivered to our landfill. Right now I have zero ability to secure any waste volume when all of the other landfills in the state are able to do that. My hands are completely tied in terms of volume. You guys have tied my hands.”

“I guess I would like to know how Adams County can operate their own company within Adams County and pick up recyclables and be in direct competition and we’re not even allowed to go out and pick up glass from a bowling alley,” said Goede.

Sanborn said Adams County has been in challenged in court and that case has been dropped.

Goede again asked why the county flow control ordinance drafted by Swayne is not enforceable.

“Lorn that is false history,” said Swayne. “That is unfair and false. I said all along the illegalities and the cautions and when my advice is then presented in a vacuum and incompletely, that’s incredibly unfair. Which is why going forward you’ve already seen me have to say anytime I talk with this department based on these facts and with this understanding and these assumptions because otherwise I have seen time and time again that it will be used against me and incorrectly.”

Swayne addressed the flow control ordinance directly.

“You cannot have the flow control in force when we don’t have the type of facility appropriate for it,” said Swayne. “Now I was lied to directly at the time of the flow control analysis that we did indeed have that kind of facility.”

Sanborn said there was communication at the time of the analysis from the DNR clarifying the kind of facility the county has under state statute.

“I’m not going to be able to stand by any opinions I’ve given you in the past when you only give me part of the facts and with omissions,” said Swayne. “And that probably went the same for DNR on what you told them and omitted.”

The committee clarified with Supervisor Alycann Taylor, who was at the meeting, that General Government Committee had already addressed some of the concerns raised when the renewed its contract for legal services with Abt Swayne in January. Talyor said those issues had been discussed and the contract was written to allow a department to request outside counsel.

“From General Government standpoint there was built-in that if a committee determined they needed to seek outside counsel, we were eliminating that barrier,” said Taylor.

After more discussion it was decided that County Coordinator Hanan will work with Sanborn to send Corp Counsel Swayne the new information about how other counties are handing their waste and see if there is a way for Vernon County to handle its waste in way that ensures adequate volume to remain operational.

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  • This headline is very misleading. There are also experts saying it is NOT SAFE. Can you make the headline less biased? It does not seem neutral and seems very pro-landfill expansion when experts are saying it is not safe. But your headline does not say that.

  • Can you please put Rodolfo’s full name and credentials? Doesn’t he have a full name and title? Is this unbiased reporting or not? Are you trying to discredit them? You don’t say who they are, you give them one tiny paragraph and you do not put their credentials. I used to think this was neutral, unbiased journalism and now I am not so sure when basic pieces of information are left out.

  • You neglected to include any information on Rodolfo. Not even his full name let alone his title. He is also an expert. Why would you not include any of his info, not even his name?

    Kelvin S. Rodolfo, PhD

    Professor Emeritus of Earth & Environmental Sciences,

    University of Illinois Chicago

    Senior Research Fellow, Manila Observatory

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