The Landfill And Corporate Logic

Posted in Commissioners Court, Hutto, Landfill, Precinct 4, Williamson County at 9:37 am by wcnews

In today’s AAS we find out there’s been a change in course at the Landfill in Hutto, Killeen trash won’t go to Williamson County landfill. While what most will take away from this article is that Killeen trash won’t be coming to Williamson County, Hutto in particular, there’s much more in this article.

First the reaction from the corporation that’s currently operating the landfill:

Don Smith, general manager of Waste Management for Central Texas, said the company decided to make the change to repair its relationship with Williamson County.

“We may not agree with the logic employed for moving this waste, but in the interest of a positive relationship with our host community, we’ve decided to move this to Temple,” he said.

Although a contract between Killeen and Waste Management has not been finalized, Smith said that under the deal, the county’s landfill would be a “secondary” site for the waste, in the event that an emergency occurred that prevented waste from going to Temple.

“But in my 20 years in this business I’ve never seen” that happen, he said.

We have to remember that corporate logic, (make the most money possible), and the logic of the community, (do what’s best for the community), are, more often than not, at odds with each other. So this isn’t surprising. And that he hasn’t seen a local government fight back like this in his 20 years isn’t surprising either. Given how “corporate friendly” government has been over that span.

Next our esteemed County Judges comments:

Williamson County Judge Dan A. Gattis said Tuesday that he is pleased that the Killeen trash will not come to the county landfill, which took in about 250,000 tons of waste last year.

“The biggest thing for us was that (Waste Management) was not keeping us informed. … I think they’re going a long ways toward repairing that relationship,” he said, referring to the Temple plan as well as measures by Waste Management to pilot two new recycling programs at the county landfill.

They haven’t gone a long way to do anything. They got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Them getting caught, and rectifying the situation, is no reason for a reward. What this situation highlights is what the county’s problem has been all along. Allowing WMI to dictate the negotiation process. The county has been standing by, waiting for Waste Management, Inc. (WMI) to to what’ right. That’s simply not going to happen. Now they county has shown that by using their leverage they can force WMI to do what’s right. The county can no longer hide behind claims of lawsuits, etc.., to say they’re powerless. Just let WMI know that unless the people you represent get a fair deal the permit stays on hold.

The county’s previous actions are why the citizens are not holding their breath:

But residents were quick to say that several big questions, including about control of the landfill, remained unanswered.

“They are efforts that don’t in any way address the bigger issues, and we’re afraid, perhaps, at some level, that these initial efforts could kind of create a smoke screen around the bigger issues,” said Jeff Maurice, a spokesman for the Hutto Citizens Group.

Exactly. And now we get to the reason WMI relented on the Killeen trash deal:

After learning of Waste Management’s plans to bring Killeen’s trash to Williamson County, commissioners protested by asking that the process for reviewing a permit application to expand the county landfill be delayed. The permit is expected to be reviewed in coming months by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

After Tuesday’s announcement, Smith said it would be “logical” for the county to cancel their request for a delay.

Commissioner Lisa Birkman said that the county will have to discuss it but that the main concern is renegotiating a contract with Waste Management, she said.

Commissioners are negotiating a new contract now, and Gattis said a revised one would probably be presented to Waste Management in two weeks.

Again with the corporate logic. Or is it tit for tat? Either way the only reason WMI relented is because they need that permit so they can expand the landfill. Even the Williamson County Commissioners Court (WCCC) should be able to understand that now. With their one bargaining chip left the WCCC holds the key to a better deal for the citizens of Hutto and Williamson County at the landfill. They can either use it for the benefit of the citizens or give in to corporate logic.

1 Comment »

  1. Eye on Williamson » WCS, Morrison Correct Mistakes In Landfill Article said,

    September 15, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    […] since then so don’t hold your breath. WMI cannot be allowed any deference on this issue, there past track record shows why, and that leverage works. Also at issue is exactly how much trash is currently coming into the landfill at this point. Mr. […]

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