Lowndes County can’t make a monopoly –Judge Harry J. Altman on DSS in VDT

Maybe filing the lawsuit in the first place was “premature”, to use Chairman Bill Slaughter’s word in the VDT yesterday about a possible appeal. Commissioner Demarcus Marshall had the common courtesy on WCTV to apologize to DSS for the unnecessary lawsuit. How much did the Commission spend on that waste of time and effort?

Editor Kay Harris wrote on the front page of the Valdosta Daily Times yesterday, Company wins fight to stay in business: Deep South wins case brought by County,

Southern Circuit Judge Harry J. Altman issued a ruling Monday in the civil action filed by Lowndes County against Deep South Sanitation, LLC to enjoin Deep South from continuing its garbage business. Advanced Disposal Services was later added as an intervenor plaintiff in the case against Deep South as well.

In the ruling, Altman denied the County’s request for an injunction to put Deep South out of business. The order addresses the County’s ordinance passed in 2012, saying that to “simultaneously invoke an exclusive franchise agreement with one company would, in effect … permit Lowndes County to construct a monopoly while simultaneously putting pre-existing companies out of business.”

Well, it appears the judge thought it was about right or wrong.

The county Chairman’s view now?

Lowndes County Commission Chairman Bill Slaughter said the County Commission has not had the opportunity to review and discuss the judge’s ruling yet.

“It’s too premature to say yet whether or not there will be an appeal,” he said.

When asked if Advanced Disposal can pursue an appeal even if the County doesn’t, Slaughter said he believes the company can, but does not know if it will.

“The County does have an exclusive franchise agreement with Advanced Disposal, but now Deep South can continue doing business as they have, and there’s not a lot the County can do about that,” he said.

Altman stated that the court did not have to address the validity of the County’s ordinance or the exclusive franchise agreement with Advanced Disposal, but “those may be issues in a future case with facts different from this case.”

Maybe if the county had followed state law in the first place, by holding the public hearing the law requires before “entering into a contract for the sale, lease, or management of a landfill or solid waste disposal facility owned by such county” they wouldn’t have privatized the waste disposal sites and gotten into this trashy “exclusive franchise” mess.

The Chairman got away with making up a rule to limit supporters of DSS from speaking in a Commission meeting, but the Commission didn’t get away with putting a local company out of business for the benefit of an “exclusive franchise” backed by investors from New York City.

Cary Scarborough once again gets a standing ovation.

Order isn’t enough. The people, and now the judge, demand freedom.