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Garbage haulers franchise request canned by county

A request by a small two-year old solid waste hauler for exclusive rights to serve a Powell Butte area led the county to permanently table the issue
When the owner of a solid waste hauling company approached the county for the right to serve parts of Powell Butte exclusively, he precipitated the creation of new county ordinances.
   The question presented to the Crook County Court recently was whether the county is big enough for two solid waste hauling franchises.
   Since the 1980s, Gary and Linda Goodman's company, Prineville Disposal, Inc., has picked residential solid waste in many parts of Powell Butte. About two years ago, Bobb Breck started picking up garbage and trash in some of the more rural areas that PDI wasn't servicing.
   In order to expand into still more neighborhoods, Breck had to have more trucks. That meant capital improvements loans and, to get the best interest, that meant an exclusive franchise.
   However Crook County has never had a franchise ordinance. The city of Prineville has franchise agreements with a number of utilities, all of whom pay the city an annual franchise fee. Breck's request was a first for the county court. And a request that caused some controversy between both the residents of the Powell Butte area and the two solid waste haulers.
   When the issue came before the court early in October, after some times heated discussion, the request was tabled until a later meeting. At that time it was expected to be taken up again in a few weeks, but now that has changed.
   In a letter to both Breck and the Goodman's, county legal counsel Jeff Wilson explained that the court would not hear any further discussion on the matter this year. That decision was made during the court's regular meeting on Oct. 24.
   "As you know," Wilson's letter stated, "the decision whether to grant a franchise is a legislative function and as such, is solely within the province of the court. For that reason, only legislation proposed by a member of the court will be considered."
   Before any further consideration is made, Wilson said the court has decided to discuss the creation of enabling legislation that specifically allows franchises in the county. Only then, Wilson explained, and only on the request of a member of the court will the matter be revisited.