New court battle in Waco landfill fight


The City of Waco and the citizens of Lake Waco faced off in court on Thursday.

This comes after the city appealed a court decision to build an additional landfill right next to the existing landfill off of Highway 84.

The court case brought against the City of Waco in 1992 for violating their written contract pledged to never expand the current landfill. The judge in the dispute ruled against the city, saying the City of Waco could not use sovereign immunity to break written contractual agreements. The city immediately appealed the judge’s decision, and this is where we are today. The attorney representing the group Citizens of Lake Waco says this needs to be solved.

“We don’t want the city to spend millions of dollars filing a permit, then we prevail five years from now and that money is wasted. Now is the time to figure out what the contract says and what the rights of the parties are,” says attorney Billy Davis.

The City of Waco says they still need to get a permit in order to build a new landfill near the existing one, and that it would not be an extension.

According to the Citizens of Lake Waco, the city has attempted to get an expansion of the landfill over the last 20 years – but has been denied multiple times.

“The city clearly, in 2005 and in 2011, use the term ‘expansion’. When we raised that, they couldn’t do it. Then they changed it to a new permit,” Davis says.

A permit the city wants to acquire in Waco and in Axtell. Citizens there not having it.

“We don’t deserve to be made a dump for all of McLennan and the surrounding counties’ trash,” said Axtell homeowner Dolaris Beralek last March.

“McLennan County has no standing in regard to having any control over a landfill in our community. The owner is the City of Waco,” says McLennan County Commissioners Court Judge Scott Felton in August 2018.

Chief Justice Tom Gray, who is presiding over the hearings, says it still could be awhile before a decision is made.

“This particular case has been fully briefed,” says Chief Justice Tom Gray, of the 10th Court of Appeals. “It’s now been argued and is ready to be decided. It is very difficult to estimate how long it will take. There are a lot of cases in front of it that have similar accelerated status,” said Gray.

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