Prairieland has to act in responsible manner

Public entities have a responsibility first and foremost to taxpayers. Major changes in operations or in expenditures must reflect this maxim. Public entities must operate efficiently and fairly. They should not join risky ventures.

At the Prairieland waste facility in Truman, directors have been considering a proposal to work with Green Photon Power to produce plastics. This actually seems like an idea with promise. But Prairieland – owned and operated by Martin and Faribault counties – must proceed cautiously and within the law. It plans to research whether it must open up its planning to other companies’ proposals, since a public entity must act fairly. If it did not, the site could face a lawsuit, or may find that any deal it signs could have been more lucrative, to the benefit of taxpayers.

Late last week, representatives of Green Photon Power pulled their proposal because they did not seem to like the process through which Prairieland is legally obligated to maneuver. It’s as if Green Photon thought it was dealing with another business and a handshake would seal the deal. What’s difficult to understand is why Green Photon, having committed time and resources to a possible joint effort, cannot wait and see if Prairieland is free to work with the company. Walking away at this point seems purely petulant.

In any case, if there are opportunities to be had in plastics, Prairieland should keep moving ahead. Anything the plant can do to become more successful and less reliant on tax dollars is welcome.