Commissioner says Rolling Hills Landfill contract stands

READING, Pa. - Berks County Commissioner Mark C. Scott said he stands by his assertion that the Rolling Hills Landfill in Earl Township needs approval from the county commissioners to proceed with a proposed expansion.

That comes after Solicitor Michael X. Gillin, representing the owners of the landfill – Delaware County Solid Waste Authority -- announced at a town hall session Wednesday evening that the contract Scott is referring to ended in 1995.

At Thursday's commissioners meeting, Scott said he was surprised by Gillin's comments, and described them as "self-serving and inaccurate." The contract in question was drawn up between the county and Delaware County Solid Waste Authority in 1989. Scott said two key sections (from the county's perspective) of the contract – the host fees and the requirement of the county consent for future expansion beyond a certain boundary – do not end and still stand.

Scott has publicly stated that he will not support any expansion of the landfill.

Last week, Boyertown residents and merchants, along with representatives from Building a Better Boyertown (BBB), spoke to the commissioners about the congestion, dirt, and noise and the damage to historic storefronts caused by the heavy traffic of the transfer trucks from the landfill. Their solution was mixed with some supporting the expansion with the provision that the owners find a way to alleviate the truck traffic in Boyertown, while others were strongly opposed to any expansion.

If the expansion is approved, it will extend the life of the landfill from four to 17 years.

In other business, Commissioner Christian Y. Leinbach said that, despite rumors that Berks Heim, the only county-owned nursing home in Berks County, has been sold, no RFP has been finalized, no unsolicited bids have been received, and the nursing home has not been sold. He said the county is continuing to look at the option of selling the Heim, but that the commissioners will let the public know when an RFP is ready to go.

Financial projections show the nursing home will leave the county with at least a $1.5-million deficit by 2020. Leinbach has stated that the deficit is due to flat Medicaid rates. At Thursday's meeting, he said unless Pennsylvania's Medicaid rates change, the future of all county nursing homes is in question.

Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt and Leinbach also thanked Reading City Council members for overriding Mayor Wally Scott's veto and approving the city's participation in the Mt. Penn council of government (COG). Barnhardt said the COG is waiting for word from Mt. Penn Borough, and its first two priorities will be uniform ordinances and police coverage for the area.

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