Landfill a hot topic

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Reprehensible conduct by the elected and appointed officials of Coffee County is the way Brundidge City Manager Britt Thomas described his personal feelings of the conduct of the Coffee County Commission regarding the Brundidge Landfill issue that has been a source of contention since January 2012.

Thomas was the guest speaker at the Brundidge Rotary Club Wednesday and pulled no punches as he chastised the Coffee County Commission for its purchase of the Brundidge Landfill without the consent of the governing body of the City of Brundidge as required by Alabama Law, “in the opinion of the city.”

The Coffee County Commission authorized the issuance of a $4 million general obligation warrant for the purchasing of the Brundidge Landfill June 24, 2013.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Brundidge Acquisitions, a one-man operation, purchased the Brundidge Landfill out of bankruptcy court in New Jersey with funding provided by the Coffee County Commission, which owns and operates the Coffee County Landfill that has an estimated life of 100 years, according to the Coffee County website (2007), Thomas said.

The Coffee County Commission also operates the Brundidge Landfill under an agreement with Brundidge Acquisitions and has complete control over the operations of the landfill, Thomas said.

“Alabama Law appears to be very clear that the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) may not consider an application for a new or modified permit without local government approval,” Thomas said. “The City of Brundidge has granted five different host government agreements since the landfill first opened. The private companies always sought the approval from the city.

“Separately, one government is prohibited from conducting business in another city or county without the written consent of the country or municipality where they intend to do business. The Legislative intent appears very, very clear.”

Thomas said the Solid Waste Act also requires the written consent of the county or municipality where they intend to do business.

“To us, the Legislative intent is very consistent,” he said.

Thomas said the City of Brundidge is challenging the permit issued by ADEM in court.

“It’s not right,” he said. “We’re in because of principle. If we did otherwise, we would be acquiescing that it’s okay for the law to be violated. We won’t do that.”

Thomas said what the actions of Brundidge Acquisitions/Coffee County Commission come down to in the end is money.

“In June 2013, the Coffee County Commission moved ahead to buy the Brundidge Landfill,” he said. “It’s all about money – money for the citizens of Coffee County at the expense of the citizens of Brundidge and Pike County. And, in our opinion, without authorization being provided by the State Constitution or the State Code.

“That is why we have challenged the transfer of the permit by ADEM and also why we field the complaint in the Circuit Court of Pike County.”