A Trashy Debate: What B/CS Landfill Owners are Debating

Side-by-side, but divided. Both sides have spoken in the great landfill debate.

For the past two days, we've seen two press conferences from the two Twin Cities as litigation hangs over them.

Bryan claims College Station has shut them out of operations of their co-owned landfill agency. College Station says the complaints are news to them.

We put the two cities' manager side by side to let you better understand the debate. You can also watch the press conferences from both cities and read the court documents filed by Bryan.

Before we define the issues, let's look at time discrepancies. Bryan leaders claim their mayor, Mark Conlee, began to have concerns about the Brazos Valley Solid Waste Management Agency's business matters. So he proposed a review of the interlocal agreement that created BVSWMA. They claim movement from College Station was slim to nil.

"This action comes after months and months of tireless negotiations and deliberations," said Bryan City Manager David Watkins.

College Station claims the first complaints they heard were six months ago.

"We had every reason to believe they were happy with the partnership," College Station City Manager Glenn Brown said.

Bryan's first complaint: leaders say their name isn't on the construction contract being shopped for the new Twin Oaks landfill, meaning if an accident were to occur, they believe citizen tax dollars wouldn't be protected.

"We do not have any liability coverage in the contract," Watkins said. "We do not have any performance or payment bond protections."

College Station says two cities on one contract would be confusing and unappealing to contractors, especially two cities going to court.

"Under the situation that two cities are in litigation, I would say if both of their names are on the contract, they would be hesitant," Brown said.

There is urgency to build a new landfill, as the Rock Prairie location co-owned by the cities is about two years away from being full. To build the landfill condemnation hearings had to take place this week. Bryan wasn't named as a plaintiff.

"We do no have any assurances that we are going to have joint tenancy on that piece of property," Watkins said.

College Station leaders say an oral agreement was made between the cities 18 months ago.

"They agreed that we would take the lead on the condemnation," Brown said. "Once it was complete, we would deed Bryan half interest on the property."

And then there's the budget for BVSWMA. Bryan leaders claim their city council hasn't been given a chance to see the agency's budget, a violation of Bryan's charter.

"You know, if I don't submit a budget to the city council of Bryan, it's not their fault. It's my fault," Watkins said.

And Bryan says it's the fault of BVSWMA's leaders -- College Station employees -- for not letting Bryan approve the budget. College Station takes partial blame for that.

"We would just forget to ask them to approve it, and they wouldn't ask us to approve it," Brown said. "It was just an oversight on both of our parts."

It's these issues and more that put the two cities on the brink of courtroom trash talk.

Wednesday night, College Station officials say they offered a proposal in May for changes to the interlocal agreement covering BVSWMA, but that Bryan never responded.

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