RIVERTON, KS--- Hundreds of residents gather in Riverton to discuss the Galena City Council's decision to place a landfill in their area. Earlier this week, the Galena City Council voted to place a landfill in northwest Riverton. The landfill will be located off US-69 at the intersection of Lostine.
Members of the community, held a special meeting this afternoon at Riverton High School to oppose the landfill. At the meeting, a committee was selected to lead the people in an effort to reverse the Galena City Council's decision. Many community members live within a mile of where the new landfill will be and were very emotional in sharing why they do not want the landfill in their area. They say they are determined to make a change.
"There's a possibility that maybe this is the best site possible in the whole four state area for a landfill, but if that's the case then landowners, community stakeholders, and residents should have all been contacted and included in the process, not a last second decision that was kept from the public," says Jason Bolt, who was elected head of the committee that is against the landfill.
The City of Galena owns the annexed land northwest of Riverton where the landfill will go. Two Cherokee County commissioners were present at tonight's special meeting, and they say the county has no impact or control over Galena's decision to place a landfill in Riverton because state law allows it.
"The county has no say on any of the annexation, because the city ended up owning the land and annexed their own land. Kansas statute allows that for cities to do that as long as there's owned land," says Cherokee County Commissioner Richard Hilderbrand.
No Galena City Council members were present at Sunday's meeting. Our news team contacted the mayor of Galena who agreed to meet with us. Mayor Dale Oglesby says he had no knowledge of Sunday's community meeting, but says the council has fully considered the impact of their decision. Mayor Oglesby also says it was no secret that the county needed this landfill, and it was not decided until Monday's city council meeting that northwest Riverton was the best location.
"This has really had a big weight on all of our council, because the council is who makes a decision on this. And this does bother the council but this is a landfill, there's never the right spot. No matter where you put it, it's not right," explains Galena Mayor Dale Oglesby.
Mayor Oglesby adds that Cherokee County needs a landfill and environmental engineers and consultants say northwest Riverton is the best place in the county. There will be two official public meetings held by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) in the near future, where citizens will be able to voice their concerns.