To the Editor,
During my six years as Wright County Commissioner serving the people of District 5, I have always worked hard to be fair, honest, and stand up for taxpayers and the businesses that call Wright County home.
Without a strong and vibrant business community, our county loses well-paying jobs, tax revenue, and the charitable and other contributions these businesses provide to organizations supporting our schools, senior citizens, veterans, and many other worthy causes.
That is why it was disappointing that a majority of my fellow county board members were not supportive of the expansion and zoning request that would have permitted Rolling Hills Landfill to continue to operate.
Let’s be clear. The landfill only accepts construction and demolition debris. No household garbage is accepted at this site, even though Wright County produces thousands of tons each day.
The landfill provides a convenient and affordable disposal option for the hundreds of Wright County contractors, small business owners, and handymen who build the houses, roads, schools, medical facilities, and office buildings that are being constructed in our growing county.
Make no mistake, when the landfill rezoning issue first came before the county, I approached the matter with my skeptic glasses firmly in place. I care about the environment, and I want our natural resources protected. That said, after reading a plethora of information regarding the landfill and carefully considering all the facts available to me, I am convinced the expanded landfill would be environmentally safe. Rolling Hills would be using the latest technology to carefully contain and dispose of waste by-products generated on the site. Also, the employees of Rolling Hills (all of whom live in Wright County) are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to concerns.
Rather than working with Rolling Hills to possibly address their concerns, opponents simply said NO, and turned their backs on the ability of a Wright County business to exercise its right to continue to operate and on fellow citizens who will lose their jobs as a result of this decision.
I fully appreciate an individual’s right to express their own opinion on land use decisions that are made within the County. But property owners have rights too, and their desire to use their own property, especially in a way that is safe and benefits the County as a whole, should not be dictated by a select few.
It concerns me that Wright County’s zoning ordinances are being used to squash an existing business that provides a well-run and needed service to our county.
Those who know me know that I have consistently been a proud supporter of private property rights that enhance the business climate and allow people to make a good living. I also support the general freedom of property owners to make reasonable use of their property.
Opponents have focused on the Northeast Quadrant Land Use Plan as a basis for prohibiting expansion, but the Land Use Plan is not only outdated, it was flawed from the start. The County routinely departs from it in rezoning proceedings. This is why the County’s decision to effectively shut the doors of a good local business and put people out of work is very disappointing. The “not welcome here” attitude sends the wrong signal to small business owners and families looking to make Wright County home. We can, and must, do better.
Sincerely, Charlie Borrell Wright County Commissioner, District 5