Councils considering 28E landfill plan

CLINTON — Slowly but surely, the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency board is moving closer to approving an amended 28E agreement that would change its weighted vote structure and how it derives money from municipalities.

Drafted in the 1970s, the current 28E agreement doesn't allow women to even serve on the board; the presence of female representatives from Charlotte, Goose Lake and Low Moor on the board just scratches the surface of needed changes.

But the board, with help from Clinton's city administrator, may be on the final stretch: After a recent public hearing for county funding sources and an explanation of the new 28E, the board needs language from its legal counsel to finalize a county levy request to the Clinton County Board of Supervisors.

The board is growing anxious to pass the 28E, but Board Member Garey Chrones reminded the board to stay focused on operations, accounting for specific gaps in funding, as the requested 7-cent-per-$1,000 levy is 2 cents less than the landfill board's original request.

"Let's not let the 28E stop us," he said. "We need to be prepared to do our part."

One of the main points of the agreement is a change in the board's voting structure to allow each municipality equal representation.

Of a total 60 votes under the current 28E agreement, which was adopted in 1972, the city of Clinton possesses 27 of them, and the county at large has nine. DeWitt and Camanche are represented with six votes apiece. The remaining towns in the county — Andover, Calamus, Charlotte, Delmar, Goose Lake, Grand Mound, Lost Nation, Low Moor, Toronto, Welton and Toronto — are allowed one vote. Under the new agreement, each municipality would receive one vote.

A new 28E agreement would also alter how the landfill funds its cell opening, closure and post-closure coffers.

For the majority of Clinton County municipalities, the head tax is collected on monthly utility bills as part of collection fees. Under the new agreement, an $8 head tax on residents would be eliminated, and the county would take the current levy paying for the head tax from the rural basic fund and transfer it to the county’s general basic fund.

The proposed levy for fiscal year 2019 equates to just over 7 cents per $1,000 of assessed value on property taxes. That rate could change as future boards of supervisors make decisions regarding the imposed $3.50 cap on the county’s general services levy, a rate installed by the state for all counties. That change would generate $176,326 among all taxing districts including residential, rural and agricultural.

Owners of a home assessed at $75,000 would pay $3.02 yearly toward the levy. A home valued at $150,000 would pay in $6.04, and a $200,000 home would pitch in $8.05.

The landfill originally requested a tax of just over 9 cents per $1,000 assessed value, which would accrue $215,000 per year. Supervisor Shawn Hamerlinck, who also serves on the agency board, said if the CCASWA required that larger amount, it would need to instead cut costs elsewhere.

Clinton Mayor Mark Vulich plans to bring the new 28E agreement before the Clinton City Council Committee of the Whole on Tuesday, while other municipalities either have already started the discussion or plan to in the near future with their respective councils.