When a conversation turns into multiple opportunities.

I received a call several nights ago from a voter I’d contacted about a clean election contribution. Her call was in regards to a pretty strong odor problem her parents were experiencing that originated in the Hartland landfill behind their house. When I brought my Clean Election contribution forms to be validated by the town clerk, I took a few minutes to talk the issue over with Chris Littlefield, our town manager. The upshot was that he was aware of the problem, was working on fixing it and offered to set up a meeting with the concerned citizens, a representative from Maine DEP, the town engineering consultant, the wastewater treatment supervisor and the town crew member responsible for covering new additions to the landfill. Chris offered to have me attend as well.

We met today and everyone had a chance to speak freely. It lasted for better than an hour and in addition to the citizens feeling like their concerns were heard, Lou Pizzuti, the DEP licensing and compliance specialist who is assigned to our landfill, spent a great deal of time explaining the laws relating to landfills like ours, how the number in Maine is shrinking, what the overall effect of those closures is having on municipalities and why our lined landfill was important not only to Hartland, but to other Maine towns up against the wall because of closure. In my opinion, Lou went above and beyond in how detailed his information was and how well he answered questions. In fact, the conversation segued into a couple areas outside the current landfill, both of which could provide new industry in town, more jobs for town residents and even a revenue stream that could help hold taxes steady or even lower them. I can’t say more about these possibilities right now, but this was exactly the kind of meeting I find makes running for office worthwhile because it was a coming together to make things better affair. Stay tuned for more information as I am able to divulge it.

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