01/04/06 — Duplin leaders divided on issue of new landfill

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Duplin leaders divided on issue of new landfill

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on January 4, 2006 1:49 PM

KENANSVILLE -- A proposed landfill ordinance for Duplin County is such a touchy subject that county commissioners can't even agree whether to talk about it or not.

Commissioners voted three times Tuesday on the issue and deadlocked 3-3 each time.

Commissioner David Fussell made a motion to invite consultants to explain the pros and cons of adopting an ordinance to govern any landfill that might be built in the county. Duplin currently has no landfill and ships its solid waste out of the county for disposal.

Commissioner Reginald Wells seconded Fussell's motion.

Fussell, Wells and Commissioner Chairman Zettie Williams voted yes.

Commissioners Arliss Albertson, Larry Howard and L.S. Guy voted no.

Guy then moved to end the discussion for good. He said that if commissioners have no plans to build a landfill, then they have no need for a landfill ordinance.

Residents in the northern part of the county, Guy's district, fear a landfill will be built in their area. A subsidiary of the company that currently hauls the county's solid waste has expressed an interest in building a landfill on Emmett Jackson Road.

"I believe it is dishonest for us to say we do not want a regional landfill in Duplin County and then require the county manager to pursue something we don't want," Guy said. He told the other commissioners if they do not intend to put a regional landfill in Duplin County, they need to put it to rest now.

Wells took offense at Guy's admonition.

"That's a challenge of a person's integrity," he said.

The second vote was the same, 3 for and 3 against.

Wells then moved to allow the county manager to bring in professionals to discuss the matter simply for the sake of obtaining more information.

That motion also ended in a deadlock, with Guy, Howard and Albertson voting no, and Williams, Wells and Fussell voting yes.

Howard said he hasn't changed his mind since the commissioners voted unanimously several years ago against allowing a landfill in the county.

The Anderson family has sought permission to use their land on Emmett Jackson Road to be used for a landfill and has threatened to sue the county if the county stands in the way.

"I'd tell the Andersons to file the papers and take us to court and do whatever it is they need to do," Howard said.

The commissioners have also been warned of possible lawsuits by residents living near the proposed landfill site and by company that currently hauls waste out of the county, which would lose money if a landfill is built inside Duplin.

The county has people threatening to sue it every day, Guy said.

"You can't eliminate the possibility of suits. We get sued all the time," Guy said.