Axtell: Residents settle in for long fight over Waco landfill site

The potential landfill site surrounds the T.K. Cemetery. (Photo by Christopher Shadrock/file)
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AXTELL, Texas (KWTX) Axtell area residents have hired a powerful Austin law firm and are settling in for a long fight over Waco’s purchase of a site that could serve as the city’s next landfill, Axtell ISD Superintendent J.R. Proctor says.

Members of Save Axtell Families & Environment or SAFE, which was formed to fight the landfill, have met with state senators and representatives who he says agree, that the city of Waco did not handle things properly, Proctor said.

“Hopefully this battle will last long enough that the city council will have different representation and potentially the mayor’s office have different representation and hopefully that group will see things differently,” Proctor said.

Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver said the city is going to continue to move forward on the landfill project.

"We are continuing with the permitting process, which could take up to three years. We are prepared to deal with litigation but we don't intend to initiate litigation. We haven't run into anything in our testing that seems like a problem so we are continuing with the process," Deaver said.

SAFE has raised more than $20,000 to pay legal fees and plans to host a fundraising event on March 23 at Elk Hall.

Meanwhile the amount the city is charging an Axtell resident who’s seeking documents related to the landfill has been reduced by more than half after a review by the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

The city initially said retrieving the requested documents would cost $30,000 after the open records request was submitted in August.

The resident complained to the attorney general’s office, which concluded that the charges were appropriate except for those related to “time with the assistant city attorney or other legal department staff to review documents to prepare AG correspondence in the cost estimate.”

The charge for gathering the information is now $13,249.30.

City Secretary Esmeralda Hudson said the cost was reduced because the files are now digital which reduces the cost tremendously.

“The open records request was broad, it covered a large scope of items, several departments and a long period of time,” Hudson said.

“Although the AG’s office upheld the original estimate, reducing the cost based on new information was the right thing to do,” Hudson said.