Boykins calls meeting to discuss trash fee ruling

Published 10:51 am Saturday, June 27, 2009

BOYKINS—Mayor Spier Edwards has called for a special meeting of the Town Council, in the wake of a judge ruling against the town in a dispute over its mandatory trash collection fee.

The meeting, which will be open to the public, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday night at the Town Hall.

Southampton County General District Court Judge Warren Parker Councill ruled this week in favor of four defendants in the case, including the town’s vice mayor, because the town didn’t hold a public hearing before making the fee mandatory in 2007.

“I will be asking the Town Council if they want to appeal this matter to the Circuit Court,” Edwards said Friday. “In talking to the community, they have said that we need to get this over with, once and for all.”

Councill explained the rationale behind his ruling in a June 19 letter to the town and the defendants. The judge said the ordinance that created the fee “was not enacted in accordance with the state statute that authorizes such ordinances, and is, for that reason, not enforceable.”

Edwards said a different statute permits the town to enact such an ordinance without calling a public hearing, but could not elaborate.

Councill’s ruling absolves Vice Mayor Linda Beatty, J.C. Owen, William Pennington and Charles Vaughan from paying the fee.

Boykins took 12 people to General District Court for refusing to pay the fee, which is $4.50 per month or $50 per year. Collectively the 12 people owe the town $1,134.

Councill ordered four people to pay the $94.50 they owe, plus an additional 6 percent in interest, on May 29. But according to Town Clerk Pat Draper, as of Wednesday only one of the four individuals ordered by the judge to pay has complied with his order.

Two other defendants agreed to pay the fee before presumably being ordered by Councill to do so. The court is still looking to serve one individual, and one person has died.

The town charged a trash collection fee for several years, but the town council voted 3-2 in 2007 to make it mandatory. Beatty was one of the dissenting votes.

Boykins picks up household waste twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays. Yard waste is picked up on Tuesdays.