Waste panel to include Westminster official Committee to study incinerator issue

January 13, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

Two county commissioners met just outside the doorways of their offices yesterday and approved a Westminster city government request to be represented on the panel that will study whether the county government should build an incinerator.

Commissioners Elmer Lippy and Julia W. Gouge, asked by The Sun why the 23-member panel did not include a Westminster representative, said they had no objection to adding one.

"I'll call Mayor [W. Benjamin] Brown and tell him of our decision," Mr. Lippy said.

Asked whether the impromptu conversation constituted a decision, Mrs. Gouge said, "Well, it's not a formal decision. We will have to make a formal motion. We can do that later."

The commissioners were criticized on the incineration issue at Monday night's Westminster council meeting. Mr. Brown promised to ask the commissioners to add City Planning and Public Works Director Thomas B. Beyard to the county Waste-to-Energy Study Committee.

Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein criticized the commissioners for seeking legislative permission to set up a solid-waste authority before the study committee has issued a recommendation on whether to build an incinerator.

An authority "is the first step toward incineration," Ms. Orenstein said. She said the authority could be a vehicle for taking the political heat off the commissioners, since a decision to build an incinerator would be unpopular with the public.

Mr. Lippy said the omission of a Westminster government representative was not intentional.

"We were looking at individuals rather than localities," seeking expertise rather than trying to balance the group geographically, he said.

Mrs. Gouge noted that several interested citizens had been turned down for committee membership, and she expressed concern that the committee would become too large if many more members were added.

"Somewhere we're going to have to cut it off," she said.

Mr. Beyard has been serving on the statewide committee that produced a solid-waste planning agreement last week. The committee spent two months in meetings and negotiations to work out recycling incentives and expanded and uniform siting criteria for solid-waste disposal facilities.

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