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Hillsville settles with Waste Industries

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A one-time fee will keep the company from taking the town to court over losses it incurred.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — A private waste disposal company took issue with Hillsville’s annexing the busy Interstate 77 Exit 14 and taking business away from them.
But both the town council and Waste Industries worked out a deal to avoid taking the matter to court.
A settlement approved by members of Hillsville Town Council on Monday will pay a one-time sum to Waste Industries to keep the dispute from going any farther.
“That’s where we annexed the interstate area, and Waste Industries has said they are incurring damages because we are picking up trash of some of their former customers,” explained Interim Town Manager Judy Bolt.
Town council members approved paying Waste Industries $20,000 in a settlement in order to avoid a lawsuit.
“Waste Industries has asserted that it has incurred or will incur damages as a result of the town providing refuse collection and related services to businesses located within its boundaries as they existed after the annexation of July 1, 2011, many of which are or were customers of Waste Industries,” the settlement states.
Waste Industries claimed that the town now providing waste disposal services to the company’s former customers is a “displacement of a private company that requires the payment of certain sums by the town” under state law, as well as under the “takings” clauses under the United States and Virginia constitutions, according to the settlement.
The agreement also terms the act of taking the company’s customers as “a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.”
Payment of the $20,000 to Waste Industries will end any threat of legal action or further claims being made against the town, the settlement agreement notes. Each party will pay its own attorneys’ fees in the negotiations for the settlement agreement.
Vice Mayor Ed Terry made a motion to approve the settlement agreement and to allow the mayor to sign it. All town council members voted to approve the motion.
Hillsville officials negotiated the settlement agreement amount down to an acceptable level in order to head off a lawsuit, Mayor Greg Crowder briefly summed up.
Waste collection services being provided by the town to annexed areas seemed like a selling point to the Virginia governmental agency that had to sign off on the voluntary agreement between Carroll County and Hillsville, spelled out in 2010.
When the Commission on Local Government reviewed the annexation agreement between Carroll County and Hillsville for the town to expand its boundaries west of Exit 14, the report the state agency issued in January 2011 noted that waste collection was a service that the newly annexed areas would get from the town.
“The Town of Hillsville provides its residents with weekly solid waste collection, and non-residential users are provided up to three collections per week,” said the 2011 report from the state commission. “The program is free and is fully financed by the town.”
In Carroll County, residents and businesses could contract with a private company to pick up their waste or take it to the landfill themselves, the commission report noted.
“Upon annexation, the town will extend its solid waste collection and disposal services to the annexed areas,” the commission’s 2011 report said.
“Residents and businesses will benefit from the convenience of this service. Additionally, the general availability of publicly financed solid waste collection reduces the incidence of illegal disposal and has a beneficial effect on the community.”