Harrison, OH

Harrison City Councilman throws support behind residents, commissioners, and regulating landfills

The Cincinnati Post

Harrison Councilman stands with Harrison families in supporting landfill rules............ Tony Egner

Tony Egner, Harrison City Councilman (2020), has committed to putting a resolution in support of the county commissioners to adopt rules regulating landfills and solid waste throughout Hamilton County on the city council agenda for December 7th. “It’s time we move forward on this initiative to protect our quality of life.” Egner says, “I support our residents concerned with the negative impact expanding the Bond Road Landfill may bring.”

It’s rare when an issue is so unequivocally clear that Republicans and Democrats can join forces to protect their citizens and preserve their environment. This is one of those issues. One need only look at Colerain Township to see – and smell – what happens when you site a landfill in close proximity to residences, schools, and businesses. Egner says, “There is no upside, here.”

Despite the Greater Harrison Chamber of Commerce nominating Rumpke for an Innovator of the Year Award to be announced at their January 5th meeting, Egner is bucking the silence and throwing his support behind residents over politics and big business interests. “I don’t think people realize the negative impact this will have on our business owners.” If you look down the Colerain Strip, there is no denying the higher-than-average vacancy rates, the low-scale businesses, and the lack of ambiance in the township. “Generations of Harrison residents and councils have worked hard to create the City of Harrison, the negative impact of a landfill does not fit in our plans.”

City Council has gotten an ear-full over the last 6 months from residents and nonprofits pleading their case. There isn’t much a City Council can do, especially when the landfill is sitting right outside their city limits. Whitewater Township, where the landfill is located, doesn’t have zoning regulations and zoning has failed in Colerain Township to stop expansion, after expansion of Mt. Rumpke. However, in about 16 months the city council will be asked to ratify the new rules as part of the 5-year Update to the county’s Solid Waste Plan that includes a myriad of issues from designating landfills (the process of limiting the amount of garbage that can be taken to specific landfills), a siting strategy (which will include a more detailed analysis and plan on where we can safely put a landfill with the least impact on our families and environment), and projections on the future needs for landfill space.

At that juncture, each jurisdiction in the county will have the opportunity to review the plan – and the rules – and make recommendations for changes if they are not happy with what the county commissioners come up with. The Plan Update will require that a majority of the citizens – based on the vote of their individual jurisdictions – vote to ratify the plan, in detail.

Egner, chair of the Environment and Solid Waste Committee believes that Harrison should weigh in on this issue now – not later. “Our residents deserve to know where we stand as a council and to put the full support of the city behind what’s best for the whole community.” And, that's exactly what the new rules provide - an opportunity for communities affected to make their case before the county commissioners and the commissioners will have the final say instead of the Ohio EPA up in Columbus. It provides a much-needed safety net for all county citizens. Egner continues, "As chair of this committee, we will be keeping the council and community up-to-date on what is happening."

Egner is well aware that Rumpke is politically active and this may cause him some blowback. In the recent Colerain Township trustee race, Rumpke donated $16K to 2 campaigns to unseat “Raj” Rajagopal, the incumbent. Rajagopal has spoken out against continued expansions of the Colerain landfill. Rajagopal lost his seat on the Colerain Township Board of Trustees. “Rumpke is a great corporate citizen, but my duty is to the residents and doing what’s best for them,” Egner said, “It’s time we step forward and support rules to preserve our quality of life right here in Harrison.”

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