Lies, Lies and More Lies: Lumberton is Only Good Enough For Trash Not Investing Cash
I recently posted a review of the former mayors of Lumberton and entitled the post "From Greatness to Grazing". I suppose I posted too quickly. Had I known what I know now, I would have entitled the post, "From Greatness to Garbage." In the last two days, I found out that your beloved mayor, Ben Winston, has been meeting with District 2 Supervisor, Warren Byrd, trying to get the new industrial park turned into a garbage dump. Allegedly speaking of course. The 290 acres of land was designated for economic development; that was one of the primary reasons why the City of Lumberton sold so many acres of land for $99,000. Over the past few weeks, Mayor Winston and Warren Byrd has making their cases for getting the waiver of released signed but there was a snag. Before the deal could be inked, several aldermen, to my surprise, questioned the move and that caused a delay in removing the clause requiring the property to be used for economic development; which would allow Lamar County to use the 290 for other purposes. Well, neither Winston nor Byrd said they intended use for the property was a dump site; they suggested the property could be used for grazing or planting crops. On April 24, 2014, District 2 Supervisor, Warren Byrd told the Washington Times
“It’d still be an industrial park. You’d still have the option for industry. But you’d be bringing some people in to clean it, beautify it, improve the grounds. Well, that's not true. As city attorney, Lindsey Carter, outlined at the regular called board meeting, the paperwork presented by Lamar County will release them of any previous agreements. In other words, once the paperwork is signed, the industrial park will no longer be a viable spot for economic development. But wait, there's more to this story.
In recent weeks, there was also news about a recycling center closing down in Sumrall and the fact that they ended the contract with Lamar County because the site was not being used for recycling purposes and there were all sorts of health violations. The first story that aired regarding this matter was Lamar County Recycling Efforts Put to Waste. One of the supervisors felt a point of contention was the fact that hazardous as well as medical was was found at the site. Another story on this matter was entitled Lamar County Ends Public Recycling Program Because of Abuse. When I first heard these stories, I didn't connect them to Lumberton, but when Mayor Winston was rushing the board to sign off on the agreement to, as he said, "get something done to the property", I knew there was a dead rat on the line somewhere.
Just the other day, I made yet another discover. It seems that the so called recycling program that was stationed in Sumrall has filed an application with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to move the dump site to the City of Lumberton. And where do you think this trash dump is going to be located. That's right, on the 290 acres of land that was designated for economic development. When Winston was in office as a District 2 Supervisor, he fought to have the property set aside for economic development, but now, he's more than eager to put a trash dump in close proximity to those living in Love's Addition and in close proximity to our loved ones that are buried in Love's Addition Cemetery. I wonder how many pieces of silver were paid to garner this deal? It baffles me that Winston and the County think Lumberton is only good enough to serve as a dump site. I think this move is very symbolic of the way our city is viewed by Warren Byrd and the other members of the Lamar County Board of Supervisors. A few weeks ago, the Lamar County Board of Supervisors voted to erect a $1.4 million dollar storm shelter and emergency call center in Purvis but when they think of Lumberton; they think, oh, that would be a good place to dump our trash. Keep in mind that the new facility is being squeezed into an overcrowded Industrial Park in Purvis, Mississippi, but they never once considered putting the facility on the easily accessible 290 acres of land in Lumberton, Mississippi. And to make matters worse, according the the letter submitted to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality on June 10, 2014, the citizens of Lumberton have to voice their concerns regarding the proposal before July 12, 2014 or the deal will be in place and the new industrial park will be the County's new dump site.
The name of the company that is filing for permission to locate in this area is Rolloff Recycling Center, LLC. On the application, they have their address listed as 380 Yawn School Road, Lumberton, MS and their contact telephone number as 601-794-2220. The letter from the Mississip DEQ states the following:
Rolloff Recycling Center, LLC: Issuance of a solid waste permit No. SW0370050571. The applicant's operations fall within SIC Code 4953. A permit rational has been prepared that contains a discussion of decision-making that went into development of the permit and to provide the permitting authority, the public and other government bodies a record of the technical issues surrounding the issuance of the permit. Rolloff Recycling Center, LLC, has proposed to operate a solid waste processing facility at the above location. Accepted wastes will include metal, plastics, glass, concrete, wood, carpet, furniture and other associated wastes. Persons wishing to comment upon or object to the proposed determinations are invited to submit comments in writing to Charlie Bock at the Permit Board's address shown above (Mississippi Environmental Quality Permit Board, P.O. Box 2261, Jackson, MS 39225), no later than July 12, 2014. All comments received by this date will be considered in the formulation of final determinations regarding the application. A public hearing will be held if the Permit Board finds a significant degree of public interest in the proposed permit.The Permit Board is limited in the scope of its analysis to environmental impact. Any comments relative to zoning or economic, and social impacts are within the jurisdiction of local zoning and planning authorities and should be addressed to them.
The last line of that quote peaked my interest. They are referring the citizens of Lumberton to the Planning and Zoning Committee for questions regarding economic and or social impact associated with the dump site. So, I call most of the members of the planning and zoning committee and none of there were aware of this application; so how were they supposed to address a matter they were unaware was taking place. I also spoke with the chairperson of the Lumberton Planning and Zoning Committee and she was upset because the city clerk did not bother to notify her that they received this letter. I was told that the city clerk calls constantly regarding minor issues, but once she received notification of something of this magnitude, she did not notify any members of the planning and zoning committee. Now let me get on my soapbox for a minute. Let me preface this by saying that I think Merlene Wall has done an excellent job with attempting to clean up the fiscal tornado that she was let to decipher. With that being said, I have always had a problem with the City of Lumberton and their need to outsource the best paying jobs left in Lumberton. I don't know if Merlene was instructed to remain silent on the matter or the fact that a garbage dump that has been cited for numerous violations is looking to relocate to the City of Lumberton does not concern her because she was not born her, she was not raised here and she don't live here. She's basically the result of services being outsourced. I had many accolades for Wall but the fact that she remained silent on this matter troubles me. She was retired when she started working for the City of Lumberton and after we invest years of a set salary, training and travel expenses, she's going to retire again; leaving the City of Lumberton in the same predicament where they have to start the process over again. Maybe I'm over thinking this matter. Perhaps the citizens of Lumberton don't care that the Lamar County Board of Supervisors and Mayor Winston want to use Lumberton as a dumping ground. Within the letter, it clearly states that a copy of the letter, regarding the request, can be obtained at the Lumberton Public Library. Well, I went to the library, looking for the letter and it was no where to be found. That's another red flag. It seems that no one wants this matter noticed and they're hoping the permit can be approved without any resistance. Well, I may be alone in this matter, but I'm going to write my letter and submit it to the permit board; stating my opposition regarding this endeavor. Hopefully, others will follow suit. It's time out for thinking our elected officers are going to look out for our best interests because they have shown us time and time again that they're not. I don't know about you, but I don't want a dump site in my city. Lumberton is not that big. Do you think the odors from the site are going to remain in one area? Of course not. The whole city will be able to smell the trash piles; especially during the summer months. I tell you what, I will type several letters, get them copied and if you're opposed to having a dump site in your city, you can let me know by contacting me to sign a letter and I will get them mailed to the Mississippi Environmental Quality Permit Board at the end of the month. The decision is yours.