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Jacksonville assumes ownership of former Vertac site

After 25 years of oversight by the federal government, the city of Jacksonville is taking over ownership of the former Vertac Corp. Chemical Plant site.

The site was a former EPA Superfund site that was decontaminated through requirements imposed on responsible parties by the federal government and its courts.

U.S. District Court of Eastern Arkansas Judge Price Marshall has approved the closure of the consent decree that had managed the maintenance of the plant site, located at 1200-1300 block of Marshall Road.

“While continual monitoring and maintenance of certain portions of said property will be conducted by the responsible parties and/or their successor entities with EPA oversight, boundary lines have been established for the real property donated to the city of Jacksonville that contained no contamination,” reads the approved ordinance.

The Jacksonville City Council approved the ordinance in February.

“As a result and to ensure the city has no ownership of any real property requiring continual monitoring and/or remediation at the former plant site, a survey has been completed and title to certain properties is required to be transferred to ensure proper chain of title and appropriate restrictions apply to all relevant property.”

The council’s decision came after city aldermen held two public hearings earlier this year on the Vertac property proposal.

“The city council believes it is to be in the best interests of the citizens of Jacksonville to authorize transfer of certain real estate and acceptance of certain real estate with appropriate restrictive covenants to insure the city of Jacksonville has title to only that property which contains no contaminants.”

In other business, Jacksonville’s sanitation department is expecting delivery of 425 new garbage containers later this month.

The arrival of the new garbage cans follows a vote at the Feb. 21 meeting of the Jacksonville City Council where aldermen authorized the expenditure of $25,000 to purchase the new containers.

The council followed the recommendation of the sanitation department.

“The Sanitation Department is in need of additional garbage containers for use by citizens,” according to Ordinance No. 1476.

The council opted to waive competitive bidding procedures and buy them from River City Hydraulics of Sherwood, which has sold containers to Jacksonville in the past.

“The Sanitation has previously purchased the same containers used throughout the city for a rate of $53 per container,” according to the ordinance. “As a result, this is an opportunity to purchase the same garbage containers at a reasonable rate to the department, which will allow for continued and improved sanitation collection for our citizens.”

Competitive bidding for the purchase of obtaining a bulk amount of garbage containers would be costly, non-productive and time consuming, making the traditional bidding unfeasible and impractical, according to the ordinance.

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