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Civil complaint filed against Nye County over solid waste issue

In a civil complaint against Nye County and the Board of Nye County Commissioners, a Pahrump business owner is asking the court to void the county’s recent changes to its rules related to solid waste handling.

On July 18, Nye County approved amendments to Title 8 of Nye County Code that governs provisions of solid waste management by amending numerous chapters.

Among the amendments approved by the county commissioners was the addition of new language to chapters that govern the authority and rights of the solid waste franchisee, Pahrump Valley Disposal, and its contract with Nye County.

Rene Morales, the owner of Morales Construction in Pahrump, is asking for an injunction or declaratory relief.

Morales’ request includes seeking an order on judicial review setting aside the county commission’s July 18, 2017 ratification of amendments to Nye County Code Title 8 dealing with solid waste issues..

In 2004, Nye County entered into a 15-year agreement with Southwest Environmental Services to operate the Pahrump landfill. The county also entered into a 20-year agreement with Pahrump Valley Disposal to provide garbage collection services to residents and businesses of Pahrump, the documents filed in Nye County District Court said.

In his filing, Morales alleged that the recent addition of the word “recyclables” to the authorization and rights portion of Nye County Code arbitrarily expands Pahrump Valley Disposal and Southwest Environmental Services’ contract.

“The amended language effectively bars any business entity other than the franchisee from collecting, disposing of, transporting, carrying, or conveying any recyclable material,” Morales said in the filing.

Morales requested the court to to determine that by “arbitrarily” amending several titles of of Nye County Code Title 8, Nye County and the Board of County Commissioners “went beyond the authority granted them by the state to offer exclusive franchises as well as violated Morales’ rights to conduct business free of government-sanctioned monopolies in areas not approved by state law,” according to the documents.

In the filing, Morales also argues that the two sections of the Nevada Revised Statuteallow Nye County to enter into exclusive franchise agreements with private companies for the “collection and disposal of garbage and other waste” as well as “operation of landfills.”

Morales argues that while these chapters grant municipalities “the right to limit or displace competition in the areas of “collection and disposal of garbage and other waste” as well as “operation of landfills,” they do no such thing for recycling or the operation of recycling facilities.

Morales, who has been in the construction clean-up business since 2005, said that he had attempted to develop a construction waste collection, transport and storage and recycling facility on 30 acres in Nye County.

While he received an approval to develop a private scrap metal recycling facility from the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission, his plan to plan to turn his 30-acre project into a Class III landfill for construction waste was later rejected by the planning commission.

Nye County officials said they will not comment on pending litigation.

The case has been assigned to Judge Robert Lane.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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