Councilman Delauter wanted to talk about J&J Trash Services, but was cut off.
Discussion got a bit heated during a Frederick County Council workshop on Tuesday; the issue was the county landfill.
As the staff at the Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management were discussing the operations of the landfill on Reichs Ford Road, Councilman Kirby Delauter brought up the issue of J&J Trash Services in Frederick. The company was turned away from the solid waste facility for bringing in trash from out of the county.
“That’s not something we discuss in a workshop,” said Council President Bud Otis.
“We can discuss anything in a workshop. That’s why we’re here,” Delauter responded.
“But not specific problems,” countered President Otis.
“I asked these guys to show up so we can talk about this. I’ve been asking about this since March 15th, Bud,” Delauter replied. He was referring to several trash haulers who were in the audience at the time of the workshop.
“The problem that they have is that they’ve been collecting refuse within the confines of Frederick County, and they’re being refused,” Delauter said. “If we’re not going to talk about that, just tell me that. And guys, there’s your open and transparent government that where everybody can be part of the process: welcome to Frederick County; closed for business!”
During the workshop, Delauter asked Council Chief of Staff Ragen Cherney about Tuesday’s workshop agenda. “A briefing on the landfill operations, correct. But a constituent matter is not a legislative matter so it’s nothing that traditionally the Council would be involved in,” he said
Also, Utilities and Solid Waste Management Director Kevin Demosky said the county code prohibits out-of-county trash from being dumped at the landfill. “There’s a part of the code, 1-1133, does not allow the introduction of out-of-county waste, so can’t accept it,” he said.
J&J recently obtained a contract with Lawrence Street Industries, which takes surplus federal government furniture at its warehouse on English Muffin Way, and processes it into items that can be sold again. It generate waste which, in some cases, didn’t originate in Frederick County. Delauter says he’s worried that the currently policy is too strict from a company like J&J.
His fellow Council members told Delauter he could draft a bill modifying the code on out-of-county trash. “I’m not asking for out-of-county trash. I’m asking for a clarification on something that originates in Frederick County at a business. I don’t think we need any legislation,” says Delauter.
In other action, the Council, on a 5-2 vote, agreed to take up the issue of human trafficking at a future workshop. It was proposed by Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater. A number of organizations held a meeting in May to talk about this issue, and she would like a briefing from these groups. “What’s happening in Frederick County? What educational and community events have already happened over the past few years? And looking at what we could do as a county if we pulled together a task force kind of brought some of these voices together,” Fitzwater said.
Councilman Billy Shreve voted against the proposal. “We have a business here that has some problems, and they haven’t even been able to tell the Council what the problems are. We haven’t been able to have a discussion with them,” he said. “And we haven’t been able to solve the trash problem, but we want to take on human trafficking.”
Shreve later proposed a future workshop on to receive input from businesses which use the county landfill. Councilman Jerry Donald said there’s already a process for that. “I think we have a workshop with county staff. You can discuss it with people individually. You write a bill. First reading, and we have a hearing where everybody can show up and speak to it,” Donald said.
“But that’s a pretty elitist attitude,” Shreve Responded.
Donald Replied: “That’s call how you make a bill into a law. That’s not very elitist. It’s called democracy.”
That proposal for a future workshop on that issue was defeated 4-3.