A landfill owner says Hancock County taxpayers "are getting hosed" because there is just one landfill that can take construction debris.
And he's willing to go to court to prove it.
So far, the Board of Supervisors has balked at Joey Buodin's offer to inject a little competition into the mix. He said the county is paying about $2 a cubic yard more to put construction debris in the King Landfill than dumpers from the private sector and other cities pay.
Boudin, who was a Bay St. Louis councilman until he was defeated in last year's election, owns Boudin Environmental, which does residential and commercial garbage pickup, provides larger dumpsters for construction sites and offers other services.
"I think the taxpayers are getting hosed right now at $4.75 a yard," the former Bay St. Louis City Councilman told supervisors last week. "Why is the biggest single customer paying $4.75? What happens if it closes? You don't have an alternative site. If there's another event, that site can't take it in. It demonstrated it all summer, closing on rainy days."
He said King charges others as little as $2.75 a cubic yard.
Richard Santiago, owner of the King Landfill, said the county couldn't support two landfills.
"For him to sit there and say I'm raping the county, the taxpayers, it's just idiotic," he told supervisors. "One of us will close. Then you'll have one site."
Authority backed Boudin
The county's Regional Solid Waste Management Authority found there was a need for a second Class 1 landfill that can take brick, mortar, concrete, stone, wood, metal, appliances except refrigerators and air conditioners and a host of other debris from demolition jobs. It also can take tree limbs, stumps and leaves. But no household garbage, as Boudin said, that attracts flies and maggots, and no hazardous metals.
Supervisors voted 3-2 against Boudin, then voted 5-0 to ask the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to clarify what it means by need. That set off Supervisor David Yarborough who said "politics, greed and jealousy" are blocking Boudin, who said he has been trying to get a Class 1 permit for about 18 years.
Yarborough didn't elaborate on the politics he believes are involved and didn't respond to an email asking for an explanation. But potential conflicts abound in Hancock County where many officials, employees and attorneys are related.
Thursday, Boudin appealed to Circuit Court in Hancock County to reverse the supervisors' decision.
"What I was asking for wouldn't have cost them any money," said Boudin. "I'm not asking for any money now. I just want my permit. Now, it's going to cost them some money defending this suit."
Boudin said he'd save about $600,000 in landfill fees he pays to landfills in surrounding counties if he could dump construction and demolition debris in his landfill.
"I could bring that business here and put more people to work," he said. "The day mine opens, it will have trucks rolling in."
He said the authority did all the vetting and voted that there was a need for a second Class 1 landfill. There is a second Class 1 site approved but that site has been closed for years.
Supervisors President Blaine LaFontaine said there might not be a need for another site.
"If you look at other counties, some of them only have one and they have larger populations," he said. "I'm not sure we have a need other than making the argument relating to competitive pricing. I think that's the only thing we can potentially discuss as a need."
Yarborough said he could predict the outcome of the letter to DEQ
"They're going to send you a piece of paper that says, no, it's not necessary," he said. "You know why? Somebody is going to lobby them."