Residents address county commission about green waste site

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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A crowd of disgruntled Buffalo residents once again addressed the Chambers County Commissioners about a planned green waste site during Monday’s meeting. The 35-acre site purchased by the county commission will be used by the county highway department to burn green debris like logs, brush and
other storm debris.

Though the commission chambers were packed full of residents, Mary Jackson, Morell Huguley and John T. Crowder were the speakers for the group. Each came up to express their concern and disapproval of the site. Jackson, a lifelong resident of Buffalo, claimed the commissioners did not take into consideration the demographics of the community, such as senior citizens, families with young children and medically-challenged individuals with asthma and other medical conditions.

“Was it considered by honorable elected officials that even though the site is there, and that it is intended to be harmless, that there is a possibility that it may be compromised, being that there are no visible or ongoing surveying or monitoring of the site?” Jackson asked.

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Huguley began his three minutes at the podium with a quote from the Bible. He said that when the commissioners make a decision without public knowledge or approval, they are no longer acting as representatives of the citizens.

“We said we don’t want this burn pit. There’s no other citizens saying they do want it. So our only opposition is this board,” Huguley said. “Listen, when the citizens find themselves where the only opposition is the governing board, we’re no longer citizens. We’re becoming subjects.”

In his closing prayer, Huguley prayed, “I ask that if these board members received any benefits, or any favors or any future favors that these benefits and favors may be a curse on to you and that you and your families be plagued with curses until you repent of this.”

The Buffalo community’s chief concern is with the smoke that burning green waste will cause in the surrounding area. Crowder touched on four logistical concerns that he had, appealing to the county commissioners to take certain measures.

First, Crowder asked the commission to cure and dry the debris before burning it. Otherwise, it will smoke rather than burn. “A green log ain’t gonna burn; it’s gonna smoke,” he said.

Next, he asked the commissioners not to take in debris from outside sources for a fee. He also requested that the commissioners notify the citizens in the community beforehand when they plan to burn.

Lastly, Crowder requested that the commission invest in security for the site. He suggested a chain link fence at the site and a locked gate on the side of County Road 431.

“Gentlemen and Mrs. Riley, if you don’t secure this site, this courthouse won’t hold the garbage you’ll have in six months’ time,” Crowder said.

During last month’s meeting, the county commission agreed to set up a work session to discuss the issue further, but it was later canceled. On Monday, none of the commissioners made any comment on the green waste site or the canceled work session meeting.