LOWELLVILLE Dispute over BFI divides officials
The mayor suggested BFI could provide free or cut-rate trash collection for village residents.
By PAUL WHEATLEY
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
LOWELLVILLE -- Mayor Joseph Rossi and village council remain deadlocked in a dispute over an agreement that would allow Browning Ferris Industries to substantially increase the amount of ammonia sent from its landfill to the waste treatment plant.
The company seeks the village's permission to increase from 40 to 70 pounds per day the ammonia it may discharge to the village treatment plant in waste from its Carbon-Limestone Landfill in Poland Township. The maximum permitted by the state is 70 pounds.
In exchange for that increase, BFI is willing to contribute an additional $36,000 a year toward operations, maintenance and capital improvements at the village waste treatment plant for five years.
Mayor's stance: The mayor said he has refused to sign an agreement between BFI and the village to allow the increased discharge because he wants BFI, which is part of Allied Waste Systems, to more fully compensate the village and its residents for the increase.
He suggests BFI could provide free or reduced-rate trash collection for village residents, or make a larger contribution that would allow village residential sewer rates to be reduced from $15 to $12 a month.
A motion by Councilman James Alfano to take legal action against the mayor for failing to sign the agreement, which council had approved, died for lack of a second. Alfano made the motion during a special council meeting Monday, which had been called specifically for the purpose of taking legal action against the mayor.
Because legal action to force the mayor to sign the agreement would be time-consuming, Alfano said he favors having council pass an ordinance making the agreement with BFI to allow the increase without requiring the mayor's signature. Councilmen Keith McCaughtry, Robert Coppola and Ronald Rotunno said they didn't second Alfano's motion because they favored this legislative strategy.
& quot;I just hope that we settle this soon so the residents of Lowellville could start seeing some of the money that we're promised, & quot; Alfano said.
Response wanted: Rich DeLuca, a technical consultant to the village, said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency wants a response from the village within three weeks as to whether the village will approve raising the ammonia limit. DeLuca said he has recommended that the village accept the proposed agreement with BFI.
If the village won't approve the increase, BFI would be forced to build an ammonia treatment facility at the landfill, and the village wouldn't get the extra $36,000 a year, he said.
DeLuca said BFI paid most of the cost of building the village's waste treatment plant and continues to pay about half its $200,000 annual operating costs and perform $20,000 a year worth of free sludge removal there, thereby providing village residents with among the lowest monthly sewer rates in the state.