Waste firm: Keep records private
The operator of Williamson County’s landfill argued before an appeals court Monday that its daily receipts shouldn’t be considered public information.
Waste Management attorney Brad Young said in his opening argument in the 11th District Court of Appeals that the waste company, which runs the county-owned landfill in Hutto, has a provision in its contract with Williamson County that allowed the company to keep certain records secret.
Rosalind Hunt, an assistant attorney general for the Texas Attorney General’s office, said the requested receipts ought to be released because Waste Management did not raise any objections during the 10 days it had to respond to the request.
She also said that the receipts should not be considered secret because the waste company’s contract with the county gave the county access to all the landfill records.
The dispute started in August 2009 when Kurt Johnson asked Williamson County for the waste company’s daily receipts for July 14, 2009. The county passed the request to Waste Management, which in turn asked the Texas Attorney General to rule against the request, saying that Johnson was a consultant for competitor Texas Disposal Systems and that the information was a trade secret.
The Texas Attorney General ruled in November 2009 that Waste Management didn’t have to provide the names of its customers but did have to release the fees and amounts.
Waste Management sued to prevent the release, then appealed when a Travis County judge ruled in 2010 that the company had to release the receipts.
Kurt Johnson, who said he no longer works for Texas Disposal Services, said Monday that “the 2009 Landfill Operating Agreement states on page 19 that ‘the records kept shall remain the exclusive property of the county.’”
It could take two to six months before judges make a ruling on the case, a court clerk said.