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Township trustees reject Rumpke settlement offer

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- Township trustees unanimously rejected an offer from Rumpke to settle a lawsuit that would allow the landfill to expand for 40 or 50 years.

Rumpke sued the township in 2006 after trustees voted against a proposed expansion. The trash company has said it has a right to expand on the land that it owns. To settle the lawsuit, the company offered to pay Rumpke $1.5 million per year and allow the township to have some input on the expansion. But, township trustees Dennis Deters, Melinda Rinehart and Jeff Ritter went against the advice of township attorneys and rejected the offer.

"I do not feel the township will benefit in the long run. I'm thinking of my grandkids, their kids, so on down the road. Environmentally, it's not going to work for the township," said longtime resident James Acton, who opposed the settlement.

Other residents favored a settlement. Matt Tietsort said he believed avoiding a trial and allowing the landfill to expand was the right thing to do.

"If the landfill goes away in 15 years then we have zero income, zero tax base from Rumpke employees," Tietsort said.

A Rumpke spokesperson said after the vote Tuesday night that she didn't know whether another settlement offer would be made.

"We're disappointed in tonight's decision. We know that we provide and essential service to the region, one that millions rely on and a service that we've been providing for 80 years. It's not like we can just pick up and leave," Amanda Pratt said.

Meanwhile, James Acton said he is tiring of the smell from the landfill and hopes another community can take on the trash.

"We gotta dump our garbage someplace but Rumpke's got so many facilities throughout the tri-state area. Take it there," James Acton said.

Township trustees declined comment on the decision Tuesday night. The trial will start in late September.

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