During the Good and Welfare portion of Monday night's City Council meeting, about a half dozen Pettis County residents complained to Council about a proposed landfill near their land.

David Gerken, 71, of La Monte, representing Concerned Citizens of Pettis County, was the first to speak.

He said that Pettis County Development Company (not affiliated in any way with Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County (EDSPC), has conducted a geological survey for a landfill, but is referring to the business as a recycling project.

The third-generation farmer said he doesn't want to see what's coming to Pettis County.

“Our group is not opposed to recycling, however we are opposed to another landfill in our county. My anticipation is what they call a strategic location, with a vast amount of land to the west and east of what they're already purchased, which is prime farmland. They don't have railroad frontage right now, but the other two properties do have railroad frontage. They're an older generation, it's probably just a matter of time where they could buy that property, too,” Gerken said.

“So what I anticipate seeing, is them putting in a landfill that will be a hub for trash across the US. I don't think we want that for Pettis County. Pettis County is known for farmers and agriculture. I would hate to see this turn into a full-blown landfill operation, which can happen with their strategic location. I anticipate Pettis County will become a trash hub and this operation will only get larger,” Gerken predicted.

“When you come through Pettis County on Highway 50, you already see huge landfills by Sedalia. Now they're wanting to put another eye sore on 50 Highway for people to see who are going to the lake, or the Missouri State Fair. I think our county would rather be known for the Missouri State Fair, than a landfill for the United States,” Gerken told the Council.

“Our group understands that we need landfills, but we don't need more in Pettis County. We don't know how to stop this. However, we are asking for your help to get the word out to everybody in Pettis County,” Gerken pleaded with the Council.

Mark Rieckhoff of Houstonia, who owns land adjacent to Gerken's, said that in his opinion, the proposed landfill repository will cause environmental, safety and health concerns.

“We do see the trash bags along the highway through town, west of town, just about everywhere, and we really don't want to see any more of that take place,” Rieckhoff. He asked for support from the City of Sedalia. “It would be greatly appreciated.”

Third Ward Councilman Bob Cross then asked Rieckhoff if he would be okay with only Pettis County trash being deposited at the new landfill.

“Yes, we should take of our own trash, it's gotta go somewhere. And I feel like everybody knows that's a necessary evil. But why should we take the hazardous materials from cities that could more than take care of it themselves?” asked Rieckhoff.

Rieckhoff later noted that his group is in the process of proposing a county ordinance so this landfill doesn't happen. “We're working on something to go to the Commission with,” he said.

Brittany Charmin also spoke Monday night. She noted that Pettis County Development Company currently is trying to buy 628 acres. “What does the future of Pettis County look like with that much dedicated to trash?” she asked.

Charmin asked for support in coming up with a solution to preserve the health and welfare of our county from a solid waste landfill.

“Our county already holds 171 acres of statewide trash that has made an eye sore and health concerns for surrounding neighbors. Adding another landfill within six miles of the existing one has generated exponential concerns. We have hundreds of signatures collected from community members who also oppose this. We constituents should have a voice when valid concerns are raised,” Charmin said.

Some of the risks raised concerning a new landfill include noxious odors that affect air quality, water quality, lowering the water table, and adversely affecting property values, she said, not to mention increased truck traffic and noise pollution.

Gerken said he has talked to Pettis County Commissioners David Dick and Jim Marcum, and the response was 'If you find out anything, bring it to us' “and that's about as far as we've gotten,” Gerken said.

“Very little interest was shown, like they want us to do their job for them,” Gerken stated.

He added that the owner of the land in question would be paid $50,000 a year for three years. “He assured me that he wouldn't sign the contract if there was going to be a landfill would be installed.

One of the business owners reportedly told Gerken that “if you don't like what you see in five years, we'll buy you out.” The same was said about another adjoining landowner who attended Monday night's meeting. “So I don't feel like we need those type of people in Pettis County. They basically ruined the relationships in the community with the people who own the land. That's what kind of people we're dealing with,” Gerken said.

Representatives from Pettis County Development Company and Pettis County Commissioners were not in attendance at Monday night's meeting.

Presidio Environmental Depository has obtained preliminary approval to begin a geologic site investigation for constructing of a sanitary landfill. The proposed site is located north of the intersection of Highway 50 and Buckley Road in Pettis County.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will hold a public awareness session on the permitting process for sanitary landfills at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 20, in the third floor training room of the U.S. Bank, 3615 W. Broadway Blvd.

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