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Why Illinois is in the wood pile: Wood Chips –

March 7, 2017   ·   4 Comments

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Springfield (ECWd) –

Follow the law and be honest, that is all we ask. 

This is the condensed version(LOL) that every legislator in Springfield needs to read regarding the wood chips of DuPage County and the attempt to change one law that will impact the whole state.  The more detailed exposure on this matter can be viewed at this link.

We will highlight the claims provided in a so-called “analysis” for House Bill 2423 which we understand is provided to those who pass our laws.

  • Without distribution options to the public, the township would have to pay for the mulch’s transport to a landfill.

And the Township would have to pay for the mulch’s transport even if this bill passes, just to a different destination so that is not a cost savings. How about you follow the EPA laws in place as it relates to municipal waste?  There are multiple options to the public and as of this reporting, we are not getting ANY feedback on the solutions to this claimed problem of excess wood chips in Townships.

  • Watchdogs oppose and expressed concerns about the potential for graft, providing equal access to residents, and the possibility of lawsuits as a result of this type of public policy.  

May we suggest you simply watch the video to have a true representation as to why we oppose this bill as the above statement left out the most important issue, one of Constitutionality.  We have urged a written opinion on this matter from the Attorney General, yet to date no response from those pushing this bill.  If they are so confident this bill is not allowing public property for private purpose, simply prove us wrong with a written legal opinion from the AG. Is that asking to much?

So why is it that not a single lawyer supporting this bill has taken steps to enforce the laws broken by the activity to include demanding an investigation into the claimed graft that created this mess in the first place?  Yes, the law and Constitution forbid certain actions but what good does that do when you ignore it when exposed to it?

  • The sponsor believes that providing this public benefit is constituted with current local government programs such as rides for seniors and the bill provision would provide the legal standing for the policy.  Current law and the constitution already forbid the potential repercussions described by opponents.

Art. VIII, Sec. 1 of the Constitution of the State of Illinois clearly states, “Public funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purposes.” Ill. Const. 1970, art. VIII, § 1.  What constitutes a legitimate public purpose, however, is often unclear.” It may be impossible to clearly delineate the boundary between what constitutes a legitimate public purpose and a private benefit with no sufficient, legitimate public purpose to support it.” Southwestern Ill. Dev. Auth. v. National City Environmental, 768 N.E.2d 1, 8, 199 Ill.2d 225 (Ill. 2002) “Each case turns on its own facts.” Berman v. Parker, 348 U.S. 26, 32 (1954).

The claimed public purpose is getting rid of municipal waste saves the township money by delivering it free on a first come first serve basis to residents.  The private benefit (residents get free wood chips) is with no sufficient, legitimate public purpose as it only benefits a very limited group of residents.  Does Due Process mean anything anymore?

Attempting to justify the delivery of wood chips by comparing the spending of township money on Seniors is frankly insulting. The well-established laws pertaining to the care of seniors has a well-defined public purpose that meets the constitutional test and we challenge those supporting this bill to provide a “sufficient” and “legitimate” public purpose for delivering their waste product to people of their choosing.

Public purpose on Seniors is well defined.

  • To decrease the sense of isolation and dependence that often accompanies old age.
  • To enrich the social and intellectual life of older adults.
  • To help older adults meet practical problems attendant on aging, such as health, diet, adjustment to changed circumstances, and finances.
  • To help older adults contribute to community well-being as effective and useful citizens.
  • To help persons approaching retirement to appropriately plan for it.
  • To organize community interest in generally improving the climate of living for older adults.

 

  • “Delivering mulch to residents is not specifically banned under current law, but townships have received a legal opinion that they should stop delivery of mulch to local residents because of the lack fo clarity in the law.”

Once again, Illinois is a Dillon’s Rule state, which means you don’t have the legal power to do something unless the legislature gave you such power.  The fact the law does not permit it now, is, in fact, a ban on the practice, which is why they want the law passed!  The legal opinion they speak of was that it was a violation of the Constitution as it was private use of public property.  We know because that is the argument we presented and multiple townships confirmed that is what they were told. One township Highway commissioner even called back and thanked us and then apologized for insisting we were wrong.  He stopped delivering mulch!

  • “Mulch from tree trimmings are currently in large piles so few people come get it, so the township has to both pay to store and then to dispose of the mulch in a landfill.”

Few people come and get it because it is located behind gated, locked, mesh covered fences with a No Trespassing sign.  As far as paying to store?  That is a lie as the pile in York Township is on York Township property, as are most other piles in other townships and we confirmed they DO NOT pay to store it.  We have asked for disposal cost records and instead of turning over the records they have violated FOIA and to date refused to respond to our FOIA related to those records.

  • A township highway commissioner in the sponsors district suggested the bill.

Yep, the same one that is refusing to provide us with the records to prove or disprove the claim of costs associated with getting rid of wood chips.

  • Fiscal Impact – None

None?  Since when does the use of township equipment, which takes fuel, maintenance, and personnel, have no fiscal impact.  Loaders to load the trucks, Trucks to deliver the product, manpower, insurance, etc.  How on earth can an Analysis on a bill claim there is no Fiscal Impact?  Are you starting to understand why Illinois is in the Wood Pile?

  • Five Township Highway Commissioners support the bill

Never mind the 1427 other Highway Commissioners that don’t have the problem those in DuPage County have.

  • IDOT and Illinois MuMunicipaleague are neutral on this bill

Well, isn’t that special.  A Township Government bill and no mention of Township Officials of Illinois.  I was told that they confirmed our Constitutionality concerns and advised the practice stopped.  Does anyone else find it Odd that TOI has not chimed in?

Does anyone else find it odd that no one wants to get a legal opinion from the Attorney General on the Public Purpose question?

This bill is not what Illinois needs.  The information provided to legislatures about this bill is appalling as it is filled with misinformation and out-right fabrications.  I urge you to bury this bill and never let it see the light of day until we get answers to our questions instead of more violations of law by withholding requested records.

 

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Readers Comments (4)

  1. Susan Burr says:

    Instead of worrying about the bill passing, or who is getting the free mulch. We are should be worried about the health risk with untreated mulch. Blastomycosis is real and it is not RARE. It is rarely diagnosed correctly. It can be fatal to human and animals. WAKE UP this is the breeding ground for it. DO NOT take FREE mulch/woodchips from IDOT, Forest Preserve or any municipality to your yard or property. Blasto fungus spores could very well be present in mulch that was ground from a stump of old or diseased tree. Untreated mulch and wood chips have the potential to make your pets and YOU sick from Blastomyces fungal infections in lungs and skin. The resulting Blasto fungal infections are often misdiagnosed and take months to treat with powerful anti fungal drugs and very expensive. Dogs are at great risk in ALL areas of Illinois. The Blasto spore blooms in certain conditions and is carried airborne or in soil, either inhaled or introduced through an opening in skin. Once infected it must be treated and can be fatal.

     Reply
  2. Susan Dyer says:

    DO NOT take FREE mulch/woodchips from IDOT, Forest Preserve or any municipality to your yard or property. Blasto fungus spores could very well be present in mulch that was ground from a stump of old or diseased tree. Untreated mulch and wood chips have the potential to make your pets and YOU sick from Blastomyces fungal infections in lungs and skin. The resulting Blasto fungal infections are often misdiagnosed and take months to treat with powerful anti fungal drugs and very expensive. Dogs are at great risk in ALL areas of Illinois. The Blasto spore blooms in certain conditions and is carried airborne or in soil, either inhaled or introduced through an opening in skin. Once infected it must be treated and can be fatal.

     Reply
  3. Danni Smith says:

    noticing the word bushel easily misheard as bullsh.t.

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  4. Take 'Em to the Woodshed says:

    A whole bushel of people need to be taken to the woodshed over this, starting with the officials from DuPage wasting the state’s time over a local problem and/or their wish to keep delivering wood chips to special people.

    There is a fiscal impact for every action that any government official does, especially driving a truck around to deliver wood chips. There is a fiscal impact for every government official who sits in an office just thinking about the possibility of delivering wood chips.

    Unfortunately, there will be unscrupulous commercial landscapers who will dump landscape waste instead of pay so I understand why there is a fence up. One city had a problem with that. Some residents saw a commercial landscape truck dump their yard waste in the container meant for and clearly marked for residents only, took down the name of the company on the truck, and they got the license plate. Instead of sending a police officer to visit the business, the city’s response was to ask for $15,000 in spending for security cameras to ‘guard’ the landscape waste containers. Another resident found out the cost of the cameras would be more than what the yard waste cost, by far, stopping the camera idea. So for the folks with the fence around the free wood chips, why not have free wood chip pick up days and let everybody know when to come and get them?

    Two other issues not already covered:

    1. There is a widespread practice of Chicago using the state to get legislation to deal with local problems and/or using the state to give special privileges that only apply to Chicago residents. The City of Chicago is notorious for that. On the vast multitude of Illinois laws are plenty that only apply to municipalities of 1,000,000,000 or more residents, or the reverse, laws that do not apply to municipalities of 1,000,000,000 or more people if leaders in Chicago did not want something the rest of us have to follow.

    HB 2423 is a classic example of abusing the state’s time and resources so that local officials can continue to give political favors to their local buddies by delivering mulch. The bill only applies to townships. If this idea of delivering mulch is such a great idea, then it should apply to *all* government units that deal with yard waste. It should apply to park districts that trim trees. It should apply to municipalities of all population sizes that deal with yard waste.

    2. Homeowners meticulously separate yard waste from regular trash. But, that yard waste could end up in a landfill anyway? That is false advertising! Why should any of us go to the trouble? Why should any of us spend the money from the hardware stores to buy those paper yard waste bags if it is going to the landfill anyway? I am very offended at the idea that I separate the yard waste from the regular trash, take the time to drop it off to the containers, I think I am being ‘green’ but all those tree branches that fell could end up in a landfill anyway.

    Is that Representative Sam Yingling in the back?

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