Loudon County Solid Waste Disposal Commission received more information April 13 on the purchase of Matlock Bend Landfill operator Santek Waste Services by Republic Services.
The sale has been in limbo for nearly a year during a lengthy review by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The DOJ has signed off on a few documents that were filed on (March) 31,” Ben Johnston, Santek representative, said. “They signed off on those documents back in — it was (April 9). I found out about it (April 12), which allowed for a tentative closure date to be established for May 3. Now, all of the documents that were filed, including the divestures, etc., are all outlined on the Department of Justice website. All of that information is available to anybody who would like to go look at it. Tentatively, there is a closure date of May.”
Larry Jameson, board member, asked board attorney Kevin Stevens if the current Santek contract included language on ownership change.
Stevens said there are no provisions that could protect the board from the acquisition and future dealings.
“This agreement or any portion of may not be assigned by the contractor without the express prior written consent of the commission,” Stevens said. “However, this isn’t an assignment. They’re purchasing a stock. It’s not an assignment. It doesn’t fit within that provision. I don’t think there’s anything in the contract that would address basically a stock acquisition and how that would impact the agreement.”
Kelly Littleton-Brewster, board chairwoman, asked for clarification.
“An assignment would be if Santek said, ‘We’re going to assign this contract to a completely different company and let them run it but try and use this same agreement’,” Stevens said. “… Whereas Republic is just essentially becoming Santek by acquiring their stocks.”
Jameson expressed a desire to revisit the language in future contract negotiations. Stevens agreed.
In an unrelated matter, board member Bruce Hamilton has abruptly resigned from the board.
Littleton-Brewster included in the public meeting packet a copy of an email Hamilton sent to Loudon County Mayor Rollen “Buddy” Bradshaw on March 10 following the board’s March 9 meeting.
“Effective immediately I hereby resign from the Solid Waste Commission,” Hamilton said in the email to Bradshaw. “After last night’s commission meeting I have concluded that five years of working on the contract extension with Santek have been fruitless and will never come to fruition. This will mean a loss of millions of dollars to the residents of Loudon County. Mayor, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve the residents of Loudon County.”
Littleton-Brewster, who also serves on Loudon County Commission, told the board a replacement will be named promptly.
“The mayor has put on the workshop for the commission meeting for next month a recommendation for a replacement for Mr. Hamilton,” Littleton-Brewster said. “I can get back with you on what his recommendation is and what we will doing moving forward with the person that will be joining us.”
During Monday’s county commission workshop, Bradshaw recommended county resident Pat Hunter.