10/3/2012 11:49:00 AM Dodge Center
Waste Management files action for
restraining order against city
By Larry Dobson
Waste Management, Inc. has filed an action in Dodge County District Court asking for a restraining order to prevent Dodge Center from enforcing an ordinance passed in June in response to resident complaints that waste haulers were charging rates they felt were unequal, unfair and arbitrary. After listening to complaints and examining bills, the council passed an ordinance change requiring waste haulers to provide a schedule of rates when applying for a license and to then honor those rates if a license was granted. The ordinance does not prevent haulers from changing those rates but does require changes to first be presented to the city so it can ensure the rate structure complies with state law.
In its filing with the court, Waste Management argues that the city is attempting to set or control rates in violation of state law. It is demanding the city repeal the requirement to file a rate schedule.
Dodge Center City Attorney Brian Weber said Monday that the Waste Management action is premature. "The city has not taken any action and has never said it would not approve rates," Weber said. "Waste Management sent us numbers that made no sense. We couldn't figure out their charges. The city will approve schedules that conform with state law."
Weber said the city asks for a schedule of rates to ensure that hauler rates are in compliance with state law requiring rates to reflect the volume of waste so that residents who have little waste are not paying more than residents with large volumes of waste.
Dodge Center's council authorized City Administrator Lee Mattson to meet with representatives of Waste Management on Wednesday, Oct. 10 to see if some agreement can be reached to avoid further litigation with them. To date, no other waste haulers have expressed any concerns with city code.
Attorneys for Waste Management had not returned my calls before we went to press.