Draft Report On City Landfill Being Withheld From Public

April 18, 1991|By Elise Armacost | Elise Armacost,Staff writer

A long-awaited draft report on the proposed Annapolis landfill expansion is in the hands of city and county officials -- but they refuse to share it with the public.

The report, prepared by the NortheastMaryland Waste Disposal Authority, a quasi-public agency that develops and finances waste facilities, reached Annapolis City Hall and theArundel Center Tuesday. By yesterday evening, top city and county officials continued to refuse to release the draft.

City Administrator Michael Mallinoff said the landfill issue was "too important to the city of Annapolis" to justify releasing a draft.

"I haven't seen it either," County Executive Robert R. Neall said late yesterday. "I understand the city's unhappy with the draft, and because it's only a draft the authority is going to address that before it's released.

"If you want the report, you should talk to the people who are unhappy with it. As a courtesy to (Annapolis) Mayor (Alfred) Hopkins -- I understand he wants to make revisions -- I willdefer to his wishes."

County Councilwoman Maureen Lamb, D-Annapolis, who has angered city leaders by opposing the landfill expansion, said she has no problem with releasing the draft but also was honoring city officials' request to keep it private.

"This is going to make the city look very bad," one county official said of the report.

The existing 89-acre landfill along Route 450 is expected to be full by May 1992. Annapolis leaders want to expand it by 79 acres, 21 of which would actually befilled. The county Board of Appeals denied that request last year, and Lamb has refused to introduce legislation that would change the zoning law to allow the expansion.

Lamb, whobelieves the existing landfill threatens nearby creeks and residential wells, supports a recycling or composting plant on the landfill site.

But city officials say the issue is more economic than environmental. Without the landfill, they say, they will lose more than $2 million in revenue from tipping fees.

In December, city, county and state officials -- unable to reach agreement on the issue -- calledin the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority to mediate. They originally hoped the authority would make a recommendation in Januaryso work could begin on a solution.

"We need to resolve this in the month of January, period," Mallinoff said then.

Mike Gagliardo, the agency's executive director, has said since January that the authority is swamped with work, hence the delay. He did not return phone calls this week.

By yesterday evening, Annapolis aldermen still had not seen the draft. Some disagreed with the decision to withhold the report and were annoyed that they were not immediately given copies.

"It's terrible when you have to beg to run your own city," said Alderman Wayne Turner, R-Ward 6.

Some county officials agreed withMallinoff that the draft should not be made public because it is "incomplete" and contains some demographic information that "doesn't addup," said Louise Hayman, Neall's press secretary.

"They absolutely are not going to release it," she said.

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