The time is coming to make a decision on the Land Preserve

Andrew Swift

Riverview is facing some challenging times ahead. My goal here is to keep you informed on what council is doing in preparation for these times.

Over the past four years we’ve had several new businesses move in, the complete remodel of one strip mall and the beginning of improving the other.

There has also been the expansion some of our major employers including W.F. Whalen, The Bellaire and Ash Stevens to name a few. Along with these expansions is the adding of jobs. We are working to keep this progress going, but we do have a major decision to make relatively soon.

That decision is to decide if we are going to file a request to Wayne County for the expansion of our landfill. To be as clear as we can be, the request is to expand the life of the landfill, not to increase the amount of household waste that we accept each day.

The landfill was approved by voters in the late 1960s. It has been in operation since 1968 without a major environmental impact. There were a couple of lawsuits filed over odor in that time. But those incidents were related to equipment failure and both resulted in improving odor control with operational changes and installing a newer large flare.

Over the past several years council has spent millions in odor control technology and being good stewards of the environment. Estimates vary on the remaining life expectancy of the landfill, but about 8 to 10 years is a good average. There are incremental changes we can make but those will only add a few years at best.

Council is looking at several options offered up by the city manager in the event an expansion is not approved by Wayne County. One option is to develop any city owned property by building homes to increase the tax base. This may include closing the golf course and selling to a developer.

Another option is to levy the un-levied trash pickup tax which is currently paid for by the funds generated by the landfill. There are several more options that I will address in later articles.

Council would like feedback from you on your thoughts on the landfill expansion. Currently nearly 30 percent of our budget is generated by the landfill. This is about $3 million dollars a year. Riverview is a small bedroom community that lacks a large industrial or business tax base, so this means the cost of running the city is basically the responsibility of its residents.

Riverview’s millage rate is currently in the lower 25 percent of our surrounding communities. We are doing our best to keep it that way. One way to keep it there is to operate our landfill responsibly and request an expansion sometime in the near future.

On another topic, I was asked to remind dog owners that Riverview requires your pet to be leashed while going for a walk. Our ordinance states: “Any person removing any domestic animal from his premises shall keep such animal in an appropriate retaining enclosure or such animal shall be restrained by a leash not exceeding eight feet in length in the hands of the person directly in control of such animal. Any domestic animal not so restrained shall be deemed at large.”

The great majority of our pet owners do the right thing and your neighbors appreciate it. It is also required that you clean up after your pet after doing its business.

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