Landfill hearing held-no decision, but interesting information

Posted in Commissioners Court, County Attorney, Landfill, Williamson County at 4:52 pm by wcnews

(Report from today’s landfill hearing received via email).

The landfill contract case (Williamson County v. Waste Management of Texas, Inc.) which was held on Monday, April 7 in the district court of Judge Burt Carnes produced no immediate decision. Motions for Summary Judgement were filed by the three parties in the case. Here, in a nutshell, are their positions:

Williamson County: The 2003 contract is a lease, or in the alternative, is a purchase of services, but in either case, it should have been bid in acordance with state law.

Intervenors (citizens): The 2003 contract is a purchase of services, or in the alternative, is a lease, but in either case, it should have been bid in accordance with state law.

Waste Management of Texas, Inc. (current landfill contractor): Landfill contracts involving counties do not have to be bid, period.

Judge Carnes said he would take the case under advisement and issue a decision by letter to the parties. If no motion for Summary Judgement is granted, the next step would be for the case to move to trial.

Among those present in the gallery were County Attorney Jana Duty and Assistant County Attorney Steve Ackley. The county attorney’s office withdrew from the case on November 15, 2008 over what Ackley described that day as “philosophical differences” with the position taken by the county commissioners. It is unclear why they chose to attend the hearing inasmuch as they had removed themselves from the case. Duty was observed talking with reporters after the hearing. Duty has not stated her preference regarding whether she wants the county to win or lose the case. The county’s designated attorney of record in the case is Susan Potts, who works for the private law firm of Potts & Reilly and was specifically retained by the county for this case.

Also present were County Judge Dan Gattis and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ron Morrison.

Numerous Hutto-area citizens were present during the hearing, includng intervenor representatives Steven “Bear” Salfelder, president of the Hutto Citizens Group, Jeff Maurice, chairman of the group’s Landfill Committee, Robbi Arnett, secretary of the Hutto Citizens Group, and Mahlon Arnett, the press secretary for the HCG. The Arnetts are also part of the intervenor group as individuals.

Also present was Jaime Lynn, the Democrat Party’s candidate for county attorney.

The media had representation from the Taylor Daily Press, the Williamson County Sun, the Round Rock Leader, Austin American-Statesman, and the Austin Chronicle.

Briefs and other information pertaining to the case can be found at: www.huttocg.com .

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