Waste group faces chairman battle

Politics seem to have snuck into a group created to take an objective look at York County's Solid Waste Management Plan.

Some members of the Solid Waste Citizen's Committee, created by the York County Council to "take politics out" of the solid waste plan, questioned the biases of one of two nominees for chairman Wednesday night.

A couple of members nominated a Rock Hill representative, Chet Miller, who wasn't at the meeting. But his history of previously working with York County Council on the plan made Fort Mill school district representative Karen Puthoff and others uneasy.

"Has Miller formed an opinion on how recommendations should go?" Puthoff asked. "Is he going to steer the committee in one direction or another."

Committee members' speculation about Miller's objectivity didn't give Puthoff a "fuzzy feeling," she said.

Miller sent a representative to the meeting, who said Miller wants to chair the group and could be objective.

The committee was formed to recommend new technologies and ideas for updating a very controversial solid-waste plan adopted by York County Council in February, said Assistant York County Manager Anna Hubbard Wilson. It has met twice.

The committee is made up of representatives appointed by area chambers, the four York County school districts, Winthrop University, York Technical College and two people who worked on York County's comprehensive land-use plan.

Reasons to elect Miller, a retired engineer, included his travels with council members to tour a waste-to-energy facility in Charleston.

The only other candidate, Joel Wood of York, initially declined nomination due to time restraints.

A chairman election and work on the solid waste plan should occur at the mid-November meeting, Wilson said.

So far, the committee has agreed to use HDR Engineering, a new firm York County hired, as a technical consultant. There isn't an established deadline for the committee's recommendation to council.