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Feisty elective contest under way in NSSD’s Ward 1

PrestP. Carter Beach Park candidate for North Shore Sanitary District Ward 1. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

Preston P. Carter, of Beach Park, candidate for North Shore Sanitary District Ward 1. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 25, 2012 1:15AM

Only one of the five Wards in the North Shore Sanitary District will be contested at the Nov. 6 general election.

The feisty match-up is between Republican John Paxton of Winthrop Harbor, who has served on the District Board since 1983, and Democrat Preston Carter of Beach Park, a former mechanic who recently retired from District employment.

Carter came out swinging by charging that “NSSD has made administrative errors and wasteful spending resulting in millions of extra taxpayer dollars being spent.”

He blames his opponent largely for “leading the charge to pursue projects and contracts that are wasteful and do not benefit the local community and its taxpayers.”

He points out that NSSD purchased a multi-million dollar sludge melter and dryer from a German company to process sanitary waste when they could have purchased a cheaper and better product made by a Texas company. Further, he said the dryer was defective and has created a toxic mercury and arsenic contamination problem at the Zion recycling plant.

He blamed friendly “insider deals and collusion with a former district manager that resulted in taxpayers being forced to foot the bill for this defective foreign equipment.”

Carter said, if elected, he will be a financial watchdog to eliminate these insider deals, curtail wasteful spending, and patronize business at home.

“The time for political graft and patronage is over. It is often easy to overlook the NSSD, but this is a taxing body that spends millions and I feel it is important that taxpayers understand what is happening with their money. I will work hard to inform the public and hold everyone accountable,” he said.

Obviously, incumbent Paxton disagrees. He points to his to many accomplishments during his 29 years of NSSD Board service. He indicates that he has been a full-time trustee who has served three terms as president of the district and currently is serving as its treasurer. For 32 years, he ran a family insurance and real estate business in Zion, and has held leadership positions with numerous civic and service clubs in the Zion area.

Paxton is proud of his NSSD service, particularly in reducing district user fees over the past 16 years by 20 percent, and reducing the district’s real estate tax by 71.5 percent since elected in 1983.

“These rate decreases have saved taxpayers $35 million since I have been on the Board,” he said.

Paxton said he is also concerned about the environment and is proud of NSSD’s excellent record in protecting the environment from any pollution or odors that might come from the District’s three treatment plants.

“Our award-winning treatment plants are among the best in the nation, and I have the knowledge and experience to continue leadership along the same paths in the future,” he said.

“During my next term, I plan to continue the search for new technology for the disposal and possible commercial sales of our sludge by-products generated from operations at our facilities. At NSSD, we are committed to finding new ways of disposing sludge that are not only friendly to the environment, but provide beneficial reuse of the granulate we generate from our operations,” Paxton said.

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