MASON CITY – The North Iowa Landfill board voted down a long-term contract with Energy Recovery Specialists tonight.
Due to the absence of several small-town representatives, the contract needed 30 votes to pass and only got 24. Just three members voted in favor of the deal: Mason City, Cerro Gordo County and Hanlontown. The vote is weighted, based on population. Mason City is the largest weighted vote, with 19 votes.
ERS had proposed a $35 million dollar trash to energy plant for Mason City’s south side. Approval of a deal with the North Iowa Landfill was pivotal to their plant becoming a reality.
At this meeting, landfill attorney James Locher went through the contract with the board page by page. None of the Landfill Executive Board members favored the deal, and they explained why to the full board. Landfill Director Bill Rowland sent a letter to the board yesterday explaining why he did not support a contract agreement with ERS, citing a report from a consulting company which questioned the viability of ERS.
The public was allowed to ask questions, and those were answered by attorneys from both sides and the executive board. Many supporters of ERS were present as well as many against the deal. Both sides made solid points. The board itself then asked questions and attempted to make sense of the contract.
In the end, the votes were not there to pass the deal. More on this story coming.
Some reaction to the vote: