Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 23, 2017

Devoid of democratic process

By Robert Kent | Apr 24, 2014

To the editor:

The April 21, 2014 meeting of the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors was an embarrassment to the democratic process. The primary focus of this meeting was to consider tax relief for a monstrous construction project east of the Fairfield City limits.

After a token gesture of listening to public comments, the supervisors completely discounted the expression of overwhelming opposition to a construction project engineered by Heartland Co-op and planned for a plot of land just outside the city limits. They ignored it and approved financial support – tax relief - for this project. Why did they do this?

No “cost-benefit” analysis was ever conducted to determine a wide range of negative impacts this construction project might have on the general population of Fairfield. No study was conducted to determine any potential deterioration in air quality, potential increases in deleterious health impacts, such as an increase in lung diseases and an increase of cases of asthma. No specific study was conducted to determine the potential damage to our county streets and roads. No study was conducted to determine potential increases in sound pollution, which could be up to 85 decibels in the immediate area of the facility.

No study was conducted to determine potential impacts on toxic and polluted ground water from the site running into adjacent private properties and public parks. No public survey was conducted to determine the receptivity of the residents of the city of Fairfield and Jefferson County to such a project. Zero surveys. Zero outreach. Zero publicity. Zero determination of the public’s willingness to accept such a project. Why is this?

Why was such a monstrous project kept out of the general public’s purview, away from public scrutiny, and almost “fast-tracked” into gaining the support of the county supervisors despite public protests against it? What are the true “costs” of this project, now and in the future? What damage to our quality of life can we expect if this project proceeds as planned: damage to private and public properties, damage to our air quality, damage to our peace and quiet, damage to our ground water, damage to our roads? Then what are the actual “benefits” to the majority of the populace in this community: financial, public health, and the environment?

Where is the due diligence and where are the studies to determine all of these impacts? Where is our representative government in Jefferson County? Where is the democratic process here?

My father’s family farmed in Monroe County from the 19th century and into the last century. My wife’s father grew up in Iowa. My wife and I graduated from a college in Iowa. We moved to Fairfield four years ago because we thought Fairfield was qualitatively different than all other Iowa communities. Apparently, we were wrong. It’s corporate business as usual. This is incredibly disappointing to those of us who thought we had invested in something unique. Apparently, we were wrong. This sudden realization is absolutely devastating.


– Robert Kent, Fairfield

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