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Halifax Pays $80,000 Toward Landfill Lawsuit

During the March meeting of the Southside Regional Public Service Authority in Boydton, the authority authorized staff to bill Halifax, Mecklenburg and Charlotte counties $80,000 each for legal expenses stemming from a contractual dispute involving Butchers Creek Regional Landfill.

The minutes state: “Mr. (Wayne) Carter (SRPSA Director) stated that the member localities would need to be billed for the ongoing Shearin lawsuit.  Currently, the Authority has spent approximately $240,000 on this matter.  Staff is proposing that each locality be billed equally on this matter.  Upon motion of Mr. Hamlet, seconded by Mr. West, the Board unanimously approved staff billing the member localities equally on this item for a cost of $80,000 each.”

Halifax’s representatives on the authority, William Fitzgerald and Tom West were present at the meeting as was Halifax County Administrator George Nester, according to the minutes.
Court records show that, Shearin Construction filed a “contract action” in Mecklenburg County Circuit Court in January 2009.

Nester explained the expense saying Halifax is under contractual agreement with the other two member counties to share the legal expenses equally.

As for the cause of the lawsuit, it stems from Shearin’s claim that it encountered “undisclosed and unforeseen subsurface rock at the site” which led to change orders increasing the price of Phase II at the regional landfill more than three fold, according to Shearin’s complaint.

Nester said after the increase in expense, the board decided to terminate the contract with Shearin and procure the services of another contractor, which turned out to be Thalle Construction of Hillsborough, N.C.

“They (Thalle) experienced some issues but not to the extent that they couldn’t deal with it with the equipment they had,” Nester said.

During its May meeting the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors voted to appropriate $80,000 to cover its share of the legal expenses.