November 21, 2022 |

In Rawlins, Dirty Boyz Sanitation was back in business Saturday collecting garbage after city council restored its trash haulers license Friday during a hastily called special session. Council restored the company’s license after a temporary agreement was reached in the legal feud over the municipality’s flow-control ordinance.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dirty Boyz will haul all waste it collects in Rawlins to the city solid waste transfer station as required by ordinance. In exchange, city council restored the trash hauler license it had revoked earlier in the week over the issue.

The game of legal “chicken” between the company and the city over the garbage collection ordinance will continue. It ultimately may land back in court. Despite the temporary agreement, questions remained unanswered.

For instance, the company’s attorney Amy Bach denied that the agreement is an admission by the company that it was violating the ordinance by hauling the garbage out of state to a landfill in northern Colorado. Councilwoman Linda Smith posed the question.

Not everybody on city council agreed with Bach’s assessment. Mayor Terry Weickum for instance wanted assurances that the company would repay the city for lost tipping fees at the transfer station. The city’s legal department reported that Dirty Boyz stopped hauling to the Rawlins landfill between August and October. At last Tuesday’s council meeting and again Friday night, some conjectured the lost revenue could be as much as $160,000. The city’s finance department has not issued an official estimate yet. Mayor Weickum also questioned whether fines should be levied against Dirty Boyz for violating the ordinance.

In opening discussion after council member Jacqueline Wells made a motion to reinstate the license, the mayor asked for assurances of compliance from the company before a vote was taken.

City Attorney Gwendolyn Wade responded, saying that the agreement under consideration only included the resumption of hauling trash to the city solid waste transfer station.

Mayor Weickum said any fines for violating the ordinance are negotiable but he said was uncomfortable with reinstating the license without a guarantee that the city would be reimbursed for lost revenues.

Councilman Aaron Durst described the lost revenues as “little details,” and appeared agitated at times with other councilmembers over holding up the vote on reinstating the license.

Dirty Boyz paid the tipping fees at the landfill in Erie, Colorado—revenues that by local ordinance should have gone to Rawlins. Councilman Debari Martinez said that the money owed to the city was more than just a little detail. The Ward 1 councilman said he would prefer something in writing from Dirty Boyz to prevent the city’s other trash hauler, Wyoming Waste, from demanding reimbursement and citing unequal treatment under the law. Wyoming Waste was using the Rawlins landfill and paying the city’s tipping fee when the other trash hauler was defying the ordinance.

The company’s attorney said she could not sign anything at the meeting that would bind her client to reimbursing any amount of money to the city. Bach’s involvement is another interesting wrinkle in the case.

Bach has worked both sides of this issue. Six years ago, Bach was on the city’s side of the legal fight when Rawlins defeated Dirty Boyz in court over the flow control ordinance. Bach was employed as the city attorney at the time. During her tenure then, she participated in executive sessions that discussed details of the legal case giving her inside knowledge that no other attorney would have. Councilwoman Smith called out Bach’s apparent professional conflict when the attorney veered close to divulging information from a 2016 executive session at Tuesday’s public hearing. The current governing body terminated Bach as city attorney last year.

On Friday night, Bach said the topics of paying a fine and/or a reimbursement to city came up after she had reached an agreement with the current city attorney. Wade agreed saying a new agreement likely could not be negotiated during the special meeting.

The trash hauler licenses for both companies are up for renewal in December.
No on from Dirty Boyz was present at the meeting. With any additional negotiations over fees and payments stalled until discussions continue, and with health and safety issues of uncollected garbage stacking up at city businesses and residences, council proceeded with the vote.

Council restored the trash hauler license to Dirty Boyz on a 4-2 vote. Mayor Terry Weickum and Ward 3 Councilman Chris Weisenburg were the two “nay” votes. Councilman Darril Garner recused himself from the meeting because of a family connection to the business.

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