Judge presses to leave landfill suit
By LPR Staff
Caldwell County Judge Kenneth Schawe pushed his peers this week to leave the Contested Case Hearing in opposition to the 130 Environmental Park proposed landfill before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The case, Schawe said, has cost Caldwell County taxpayers thousands of dollars, but
as the results of the County’s involvement remain in limbo, the Judge said he believes now is the time to walk away.
“We don’t know if it’s done us any good, and I just can’t see continuing to spend taxpayer money on this thing,” he said.
A recent Open Records Request reveals that the County has been billed more than $106,000 over the course of their opposition to the landfill project. Those totals, however, only reflect attorney billing through October 2016, and the case has hit several other landmarks since that time, which have likely added considerably to those totals.
While Commissioner Ed Theriot noted he has been vocal about wanting to get the County out of the litigation, he said on Monday that he did not believe this was the right time to make that move.
“I question the value that we’ve received, and I’ve been fairly vocal about not wanting to continue to expend the funds,” he said. “But I’m not in favor of withdrawing right now, because I’m not sure there’s anything to withdraw from, and I’m comfortable staying where we are.”
Although attorney Eric Magee said the case remains an “active matter,” it is likely the next thing the County will be notified of is that TCEQ will set a date for the commissioners to review the permit application. Theriot cautioned he would like advance notice before any additional billable work is done on the case.
After the discussion, Schawe’s motion to withdraw from the litigation died for a lack of a second.
In other business, the Commissioners approved the public improvements in several subdivisions throughout Caldwell County. Under the County’s current subdivision rules, developers are required to make road and street improvements prior to opening a subdivision for sale. Unit Road Administrator Donald Leclerc said the improvements met with county standards.
In brief news:
The panel heard an extensive presentation on the activities of the Greater San Marcos Partnership.
They discussed, but ultimately took no action regarding adding Schawe as an authority on the County’s depository accounts, for the purpose of acquiring information directly from the bank.
They chose, on the advice of the Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management, to enact a burn ban, effective Monday morning, which is likely to last throughout the summer.
The Caldwell County Commissioners Court meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 9 a.m. in the second floor courtroom of the Caldwell County Courthouse. Meetings are open to the public and available for online viewing at www.co.caldwell.tx.us.