During Monday night’s Independence County Quorum Court meeting, the JPs voted unanimously to send a formal letter to the City of Batesville terminating the county’s recycling agreement with the city.
In a visit this morning with White River Now’s Gary Bridgman, County Judge Robert Griffin (pictured above, right) said the termination of the agreement, regardless of which party calls for the agreement to end, states that the current agreement stays in place for one year before the termination takes effect.
“Throughout the contract, we have picked up cardboard and office materials, and whenever the contract terminates – even though they have not been upholding their end of it, we’ll honor our part,” said Griffin. “It has a termination clause. It has to be within 10 days of the anniversary date — which gives it at least a year to run. So this won’t affect them [for a year] — although it’s an ongoing liability for the city. But after that, the cardboard routes will stop in the city, and also the office waste will stop, as well.
Griffin elaborated on why he believes the city has not met the agreement’s obligations for several years.
“The obligation in the agreement was that they would supply four workers – two for the plant and two for the route drivers,” he said. “Going as far back as 15, 20 years, they have not fully met that obligation at any point, but within the last four or five years, they completely stopped meeting any obligation as far as reimbursing us for those costs.”
As for an approximate amount as to what those costs would be, the judge said he didn’t have an exact figure
“But,” he said, “to say that over the term of the agreement, [the amount] should be a half-million or more [$500,000].”
Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh (pictured above, left) told Bridgman this morning that the recycling termination issue is just one of several issues the city council and county quorum court need to sit down together and attempt to resolve.
“The recycling issues, like all the other issues with the county, could be solved by the city council and the quorum court meeting together to work out their differences and solve problems for the good of the community. However, the current county administration continues to refuse to meet. I guess we’re going to go to court, which is wasting precious taxpayers’ dollars in the process.”
The mayor said the city has had good relationships with previous county administrations in the past.
“There were agreements with former Judge David Wyatt. There were good relationships with Judge Bill Hicks. Some of these were handshake agreements through the years, I’m sure,” the mayor said.
“The city of Batesville is willing to sit down with the quorum court. We want to be a part of everything, but we want to be treated fairly. It’s in a court system…maybe we need to head in that direction.”
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