BOSTON MOUNTAIN REGIONAL SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE
BENTON COUNTY REGIONAL SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT DISTRICT APPELLEE/CROSS-APPELLANT
FROM THE BENTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 04CV-16-629]
HONORABLE XOLLIE DUNCAN, JUDGE.
Harrington, Miller, Kieklak, Eichmann & Brown, P.A., by:
Thomas N. Kieklak, for appellant/cross-appellee.
Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson, P.C., by:
Curtis E. Hogue and M. Scott Hall, for
W. Gruber, Chief Judge.
appeal arises from a dispute between two regional solid-waste
management districts over statutory fees related to the
movement or disposal of solid waste within and between
districts. Instead of the equal division of fees called for
in the code, the Benton County Circuit Court found that the
statutory fee division provided for an "unjust
enrichment" to the appellant Boston Mountain Regional
Solid Waste Management District and that the entire fee
should be paid over to the appellee Benton County Regional
Solid Waste Management District. The Boston Mountain District
appeals, arguing that the statutory scheme should be enforced
as written because the statute is presumed constitutional.
The Benton County District cross-appeals, arguing that the
circuit court erred in not declaring the statute
unconstitutional. We reverse on direct appeal and dismiss the
history of the legislation and this lawsuit is helpful. In
March 1991, the Arkansas legislature passed Act 752 of 1991
as part of an overhaul of the state's solid-waste
management system and recycling programs. The Act renamed
regional solid-waste planning districts and solid-waste
service areas as regional solid-waste management districts to
be governed by regional solid-waste management boards. Act
752 also greatly expanded the powers and duties of the
regional solid-waste management boards, which are the
entities responsible for providing solid-waste management
systems for their districts. The Act gave the boards
authority to assess service fees for solid-waste collection
services. See Ark. Code Ann. § 8-6-714(b)
(Repl. 2018). The Act was silent as to any limits on the
amount of the fees and whether they could be assessed on
districts that disposed of solid waste from an adjoining
district. Section 8-6-714 was substantially rewritten by Act
209 of 2011. Pertinent to this appeal, the boards were given
authority to "fix, charge, and collect rents, fees, and
charges of no more than two dollars ($2.00) per ton of solid
waste related to the movement or disposal of solid waste
within the district[.]" See Ark. Code Ann.
§ 8-6-714(a)(1)(A). As amended, section 8-6-714(c)(3)
further specified certain conditions and circumstances under
which fees may be assessed:
(A) Districts shall determine by interlocal agreement how the
(i) Assess and administer the fee; and
(ii) Divide the fees.
(B) If districts cannot reach an interlocal agreement
regarding the division of the fees, then the fees shall be
divided equally between the districts.
Ark. Code Ann. § 8-6-714(c)(3)(A).
parties once had an interlocal agreement dated May 26, 2011,
that addressed the distribution of the waste-assessment fees
for waste originating in the Benton County District and
brought into the Boston Mountain District. The fees are paid
to the districts by the company hauling the waste load to the
landfill through a contract with a municipality or county
government. Article 2 of the agreement provided that both
districts at present had a waste-assessment fee of $1.50 per
ton on all solid waste generated in their respective
district, brought into their district from outside their
district, or generated in their district and transported
outside their district or the state. Article 3 provided that
the fee would remain at $1.50 per ton unless both agreed to
an increase. In Article 10, the districts agreed to leave in
place any contract for waste-assessment fees existing at the
time of the agreement and that the fee would be paid entirely
to the generating district. The essence of the agreement is
that the district generating the waste receives the entire
fee. The agreement was to expire on May 1, 2016.
private company, Waste Management, operates the Eco-Vista
Landfill in Tontitown, Arkansas, within the Boston Mountain
District. The landfill is the destination for solid waste
generated within the Benton County ...