By Kathi Bliss
The Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court continues to take steps forward toward entering host agreement with Green Group Holdings, the Atlanta-based conglomerate hoping to build a landfill in rural Caldwell County near Lytton Springs.
The committee, proposed by Commissioner Hoppy Haden and supported by members of the community who hope for, at the very least environmental and financial protections, should the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality approve the landfill permitting application, is comprised of appointees from each of the members of the Commissioners Court, as well as Haden himself, and County Judge Kenneth Schawe.
Haden opted to appoint Oscar Fogle, a member of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority Board of Directors, and an outspoken supporter of the Green Group project. Longtime Luling resident Kenwood Maeker was the choice of Commissioner Eddie Moses. Commissioner Ed Theriot chose surveyor and floodplain expert Linda Hinkle, while Commissioner Joe Roland tapped an outspoken opponent of the project, and member of Environmental Protection for Caldwell County (EPICC) founding member Frank Sughrue. Schawe tentatively appointed Lockhart resident Kenneth Sneed, though he said he had not yet discussed service on the committee with the would-be appointee.
According to Haden, the group will meet in the future to discuss any concessions and restrictions that might be offered in a future host agreement. Also, he noted, there is not currently a host agreement on the table, despite information being distributed on social media.
“That old host agreement is not on the table,” he said. “[Green Group Holdings president] David Green has said that he is going to work to come forward with a new draft. We wanted to have this committee in place if and when that proposal comes through.”
Green Group representatives have confirmed that the prior draft of the host agreement, originally presented in 2013 and shelved by the then-seated Commissioners’ Court, is no longer valid, and said that a new draft should be forthcoming in the future.
Still, there are members of the community who are dead-set against any agreement, and believe that the County should continue a fight against the landfill project.
“I don’t see why you feel the need to ‘trash my life,’” said Linda Lloyd, a Homanville Trail resident who told the Court that she had saved her entire life to enjoy a quiet home in the country. “There are other ways to make money. Please continue to fight this with all you have.”
Lloyd leveled a threat at the Court, noting she would make it her “purpose in life to see [candidates supporting the landfill] defeated in the future.”
In other business, addressing a concern brought forth by Dry Creek Road resident Lisa Alexander, who claims to be a victim of illegal dumping who has received no assistance from the County in cleaning up her property, the Court heard a presentation from Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG) representative Ken May.
“I was blessed with 18-wheeler tires being dumped on my property,” she said in an empassioned address to the Court. “I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay to clean it up when I am a crime victim.”
May gave an extensive presentation to the Court outlining potential options for environmental cleanup, but offered little comfort that there was assistance available in a situation like Alexander’s.
“There are some options available and some grant monies that the County could pursue,” he said. “But there are not a lot of options available that address 18-wheeler tires. Those are much more expensive to clean up than passenger tires.”
He did outline projects in which the County has previously participated, including voluntary clean up days, but said it was uncommon for counties to apply for and receive grant money to clean up private property.
The Commissioners also set a public hearing, and will discuss the possibility of installing several stop signs in the Prairie Lea area. According to area resident RW Crampton, the signs used to be in place, but through recent years have been removed, creating traffic hazards for area residents, particularly during the summer months when the San Marcos River in Prairie Lea is a popular recreation spot.
The Caldwell County Commissioners’ Court routinely meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in the second floor courtroom of the Caldwell County Courthouse. The meetings are open to the public and can be viewed online at www.co.caldwell.tx.us.