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Hollister
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August 10, 2022

Letter to the editor: Landfill expansion would serve other counties

Supervisor Bob Tiffany snarled, “It disgusts me that this [Growth Initiative] will go before the voters” then growled “I certainly am going to be working very diligently to try to ensure that this initiative does not pass in November.”

You would hope an elected supervisor would give full measure of consideration for their constituents (the voter) wishes.

Supervisor Kollin Kosmicki is the only supervisor to declare he will remain open-minded while the other four (Dirks, Gonzales-Rameriz, Hernandez, Tiffany) are all clearly pro landfill while making innuendo of attempting to push the landfill expansion project through before the election.

The Waste Solution Group (WSG) Landfill proposal before the Board of Supervisors would expand our county dump site to 483 acres (five times larger) and open our county as the dumpsite for Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Clara, Fresno and Alameda counties. The population to be serviced by this agreement totals 5,392,544—dumping 2,300 tons per day.

That’s 5-plus million people dumping on our hills, at lower rates than the county residents are required. WSG controls rates. San Benito residences pay $57.00 per ton while out-of-county customers pay $30.41 per ton.

Great for those counties. Better for WSG. Bad for Hollister.

The same WSG has sent out confusing mailers, posting signs misleading residents to conclude this is a done deal. It’s not.

The way state regulation works is when a landfill has reached 15 years remaining capacity, external county dumping stops accommodating the local county only. Now WSG and the supervisors prepare to expand, restarting the clock to fill our county with garbage—making us the “regional armpit.” Farther north, a former dumping ground in Milpitas still emits a foul smell on hot days, many years after downgrading operations.

Don’t be fooled by promises. The development world has zeroed on San Benito and sees gold at the end of the rainbow. Developers and our supervisors don’t want to let voters stop our community industrialization. That specifically goes for WSG’s landfill proposal. WSG doesn’t care about the future of our community, just profits.

They’ve garnered our supervisors’ support, who have previously botched it by making housing development deals that didn’t include sufficient impact dollars to maintain roads, schools, etc…leaving taxpayers with the bill. 

Two excerpts from County FAQ on the landfill expansion pointing to this proposal ending badly:

1) The study was completed by an expert team of pavement engineering, traffic engineering, economic analysis consultants… results were to be used for landfill amendment negotiations… Showed the haul route was in “poor or failing” condition and the out-of-county waste transport on roads necessitates significant costs for road repair in the amount of $14.1 million and required additional costs for annual road maintenance. The county and WSG reached an agreement providing an additional $2,300,000.

2) The county pays $40,000 per year for a contractor to keep John Smith Road clean.

Simply put, $14.1mil in damaged roads will not be remedied by $2.3 million. Separately, if our county is paying $40,000 per year to clean up road litter, what will the bill be after opening the garbage business to six counties and 5-plus million people?

The Supervisors are leading us down the wrong road. 

Karl Broussard

San Benito County

Editor’s note: See a reply to this letter from Supervisor Bob Tiffany here.

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