An ordinance to address littering and waste haulers is once again in front of the Winnebago County Board’s Operations and Administrative Committee.
After sending it back to the committee at last week’s county board meeting, members discussed possible changes and concerns before passing the motion Thursday evening.
Residents once again attended to express their frustrations with the Winnebago Landfill’s odor. Although the current ordinance in question only enforces littering, local citizens wanted to support an initiative that regulates landfill activity.
“We want to let them know that we’re not going away,” said New Milford resident Mona Knowlton. “They’re going to have to fix this. We’re not all going to pick up and move, they need to fix this. I have a grandson out there that lives out there and I don’t even want him to be out there.”
In addition to the $50 permit requirement already in place, the ordinance was amended to include a $100 inspection fee and $1000 fine system. On Thursday, the law was also changed to say trucks less than 16,000 pounds would not be required to have a permit.
Ahead of the meeting, the Winnebago Landfill sent an email to the Operations and Administrative Committee to address the waste hauler ordinance.
In the email, Winnebago Landfill listed items they believe should be eliminated and offered alternatives. It believes the permit requirement will be impractical to implement and create a competitive disadvantage. It also mentions the inspection and licensing fee requirements put the ordinance in jeopardy of legal challenge because of outside statutory and contractual limits.
The Winnebago County Health Department says currently there are only 60 trucks permitted but some board members think the actual number of trucks dumping at the landfill is probably in the hundreds.
The inspections and code enforcement would be up to the health department team to complete. In the email, the Winnebago Landfill claims the agency lacks expertise to oversight landfill business.
Some board members mentioned their hesitation the ordinance would turnout to be effective in addressing littering. While others proposed using cameras to better monitor incoming and outgoing garbage haulers.
Among Winnebago Landfill’s alternatives was a suggestion to use host fee funding to staff an officer to solely focus on litter ticket enforcement. The email also advises the board create a county-wide general litter ordinance that applies to all vehicles and not just waste carriers. It goes on to say the ordinance should not require any permitting and should include trash trucks that drive through Winnebago County to Ogle County’s Orchard Hills landfill.
It appears committee members disagreed as they unanimously sent the amended ordinance through. County board member Jean Crosby (R-16th) says the initiative will be a working progress.
“It’s in its infancy right now,” said Crosby. “We’ll know more in six months, eight months or a year whether or not it’s a payoff for anybody. Somebody has to come after these guys and this is a step to do that.”
The ordinance will be up for a full county board vote at next Thursday’s meeting.