Citizens group loses another battle over landfill vote request

Published 4:46 pm Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another battle in the long war between the Concerned Citizens of Pearl River County and the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors ended with anther victory for the board.

A decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in favor of the board after a representative with the Concerned Citizens of Pearl River County filed an appeal.

The first decision was made by the Pearl River County Circuit Court in March of 2007. That decision stated the board of supervisors were legally within their bounds to deny a public vote on the expansion of the Central Landfill in Millard, according to Mississippi Supreme Court documents.

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The document states that the plaintiff, Concerned Citizen representative Richard Bennett, sent a letter to the board after it failed to acknowledge a petition signed by registered voters. The petition outlined the need for any changes made to the waste agreement between the county and Waste Management to be put to a public vote, as opposed to the baord of supervisors making those decisions.

Controversy about the supervisors making decisions dealing with the landfill began when expansion of the landfill was discussed in 2005. The first proposed expansion would have allowed industrial waste from the New Orleans area to be dumped in the Central Landfill. There was some contention between the Concerned Citizens and Waste Management, the company that runs Central Landfill, about expanding the foot print of the land fill.

The petition was sent to the board on Oct. 17, 2005. No response was ever issued by the board so Bennett sent another letter to the board attorney asking for a response within 10 days. After that letter failed to garner a response, Bennett filed a complaint with the county circuit court in June of 2006. The county circuit court ruled in favor of the board of supervisors during a hearing in March of 2007, according to the Supreme Court document.

Bennett filed an appeal and on Aug. 7 of this year the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Pearl River County Circuit Court, stating that “the plaintiffs failed to satisfy the requirements for the issuance of the writ as provided in Mississippi Code Annotated Section 11-1-41”, according to the court documents.