RIVERVIEW — With residents set to respond to a landfill expansion survey, the City Council unanimously adopted a motion in support of the expansion during a recent meeting.
Councilmember Dean Workman brought the motion forward March 7 to make a public record in support of the landfill expansion as the city submitted it to Wayne County last year.
“It is critical that we derive revenue from its operations while we continue to seek other viable alternatives to financially secure our city’s future,” he said.
Workman also said that in the past, the council has decided that it is in the best interest to the city to seek an expansion for the landfill.
“We have done so because we understand city finances and how devastating it would be to lose one-fourth of our income,” he said. “If we had to operate on just revenues we get from taxes we’d have to curtail many of the services we provide for the residents.
“This means cutbacks in essential services like police and fire — many people don’t think about this, but unlike other cities that have large industry and commercial taxpayers, we do not. Instead, we have a landfill which is the equivalent of a Ford Motor plant or a Detroit Edison plant.”
Prior to the motion, Mayor Andrew Swift briefly spoke about the survey being mailed to residents.
“We really want the community’s input on the survey dealing with the expansion of the landfill.” he said.
Workman added that the survey is an important step for the residents and asked all residents to give the city a response by mailing back the survey.
“I want to take a moment to encourage and ask each voter to pay attention to this and give us their opinion,” he said, “and I think we need to be transparent.”
Workman said the council and mayor need to be on the record showing their support for the city by letting the voters know how they stand.
“There shouldn’t be any doubt or confusion in anyone’s mind as to this council’s position on this critical vote,” Workman said. “We have an obligation as elected leaders of the city to take a stand, so I’m making a motion so everyone can see that we support our city services, our police, our fire and every operation of the city that depends on this landfill revenue.”
On Feb. 22, the council unanimously agreed to award the bid to survey residents to Cobalt Community Research. Cobalt, which bid $16,374, would send out a survey questionnaire to every registered voter in the city, with a postage paid return addressed envelope; tally the responses returned to them; and present the results to the City Council.
Funds for the survey are available in the land preserve budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The city’s purchasing and finance department searched the Michigan Inter-governmental Trade Network BidNet for public opinion surveys and community engagement, where two bids were found for the city of Midland in 2018 and the Charter Township of Shelby in 2021.
Two companies responded: Cobalt Community Research Inc. and EPIC-MRA, both of which were the two lowest bidders for the Midland Community Engagement Bid of 2018.
During a Feb. 14 study session, the council members spoke about a registered voter survey instead of the ballot question approved by the council last August.
A special election was not scheduled for Riverview in May, so the cost would have been $20,000, and the results would not have been ready in time to meet the council’s decision deadline.
The Riverview Land Preserve, 20863 Grange Road, provides 25 percent of Riverview’s operating budget.
The RLP is a regional resource serving 16 Downriver communities. The significance of that to Riverview residents is that revenue generated from the landfill is a vital part of keeping the city safe and property taxes lower.
The landfill expansion site is along King Road. A proposed expansion would be a 45-acre extension eastward — still within the boundaries of the landfill — to extend the life of the landfill.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])