Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 19, 2017

Woman arrested but not gagged

By Eileen Dannemann | May 22, 2014

To the editor:

Spending eight hours in a cold cell in Jefferson County jail replete with gray and white stripes allowed me to realize that the “good ol’ boys network” is alive and well in Fairfield. So, let me tell you what I found out:

The Heartland project will ship 20 million bushels of GMO corn to Texas and Mexico​ despite Mexico being the corn capital of the Americas and disregarding the fact that Mexico has banned the planting of GMO maize. This is how the USA subverts the economies of developing countries.

Locally, it will take 25,000 semi-trailers to deliver the grain to Heartland. 25,000 semi-trailers equal 50,000-semi trailers-round trip. Drivers will be reticent to drive under the 115-year old BNSF railroad, one lane Nutmeg Avenue gravel underpass, but will instead come down Burlington Avenue, past Walmart & HyVee substantially slowing down traffic and polluting the city. It is interesting to note that 12 percent of Jefferson County residents already have lung problems. The county cannot ban Heartland semi-trailers from going down Burlington without banning all similar semi-trailers. So expect them!

Lee Dimmitt admitted that he was aware of BNSF railroad’s adamant refusal to renovate the Nutmeg underpass, a critical component in the deal. Yet the supervisors approved the TIF/bonding resolution, purposely leaving out what they know to be the county’s responsibility in the very near future – to renovate the dangerous one lane gravel underpass.

Were the entire Nutmeg underpass construction included, transparently, in the front end of the deal where it belongs, the taxpayers would see that they are actually on the hook for $5 million. However, the supervisors put it on the back end, virtually out of sight. In other words, we are obligated to increase the debt at the time the one lane gravel underpass becomes untenable and dilapidated. At that time we will be forced to add another $2.8 million to fix the safety problem. Hence the aerial view of the taxpayer debt seeing both the front and back end is $5 million dollars, not $2.5 million dollars. The service on the totality of this debt has not been calculated and disclosed to the public and appears to be financially unsustainable.

Moreover, the supervisors are remiss in not securing an “outside” feasibility study. If Heartland does not meet its ambitious goals, it can fail. A CEO in the grain industry has told me, in his opinion, the Heartland project in not viable. If so, we will not only be left with an enormous debt but an abandoned monstrosity at our east gate with no property income to defray the debt. The supervisors’ actions are characterized by ignorance and “a lack of due diligence in securing professional advice, amounting to willful blindness.”

Just this week, in the face of the community’s concerns, the supervisors had the temerity to sign off on a $5,000 appropriation of taxpayer monies to hire outside attorneys so as to FEDA-fast track a legally binding TIF/bonding agreement between the county and Heartland, leaving out the Nutmeg underpass. No such agreement should be signed nor appropriations made to outside attorneys on behalf of the county before the whole Heartland/FEDA/supervisor story is pulled out from under the cover of darkness and the actual cost analysis including the Nutmeg back ended underpass is revealed to the taxpayers.


– Eileen Dannemann, Fairfield

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