2015 Beautiful Waller County Calendars
2015 WE STAND UNITED 3 Dinner/Auction Fundraiser
Internal Revenue Service 501(c)(3) Determination Letter
Dear CALH Member,
On August 6, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued correspondence granting the request of the Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead (CALH) to be made a tax exempt charitable organization. In the correspondence, the IRS stated in part: “We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to you are deductible under section 170 of the Code.”
The effective date of our exempt status is June 26, 2011, the date of the initial creation of the organization. This means that any contributions made to CALH since June 26, 2011, are deductible for federal income tax purposes.
A special thank you goes to Debra Mergel, Attorney at Law, and Robert Fry, CPA, for their assistance in preparing this application to the IRS.
Your tax deductible donations can be sent to CALH, P.O. Box 871, Hempstead, TX 77445. Thank you for your continued support.
Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead
Settlement Deal Near In Waller County Landfill Lawsuit
~Article as posted from The Houston Chronicle.
January 28th, 2015, 4:23pm
A settlement agreement is on the horizon in the lawsuit over Waller County’s approval of a proposed landfill, but it would not end the dispute over a company’s plans to locate the project near the Hempstead city line.
County Judge Trey Duhon had anticipated that the settlement terms would be presented Wednesday morning to the county’s commissioners court for review, but they were not. Members of the court attributed the hiccup to small procedural hurdles, saying that the negotiations were continuing to move forward.
“I think they are very close, but until we have something that’s signed by all of the parties, it’s not written in stone,” Commissioner John Amsler said.
The anticipated deal comes more than a month after a jury found that Waller County commissioners violated transparency laws in agreeing to host the landfill. The profile of the commissioners court changed this year after the November election of three new members, and Duhon is among a current majority opposed to the landfill.
Duhon said he expected the settlement terms would include a judgment to void the county’s 2013 landfill ordinance and agreement to host the 250-acre waste site. The county would also pay attorneys’ fees totaling about $570,000 to the plaintiffs: Hempstead and a citizens group opposed to the project. Duhon said that the plaintiffs were originally seeking fees in excess of $800,000
Additionally, the deal was expected to release the county from any contractual obligation with Pintail, the landfill developer, Duhon said.
Blayre Peña, an attorney for the citizens group, said that should a settlement agreement be reached, she did not expect there to be any appeals in the case.
Even so, a deal would leave the future of the controversial landfill in question, as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has final say over whether the landfill gets approved.
Pintail attorney Brent Ryan could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but he said last month that the company would move forward with its permit application regardless of whether its agreements with Waller County were invalidated. Pintail’s application is scheduled for a contested case hearing in August with the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
In the meantime, Hempstead attorney Corey Ouslander said he expects attorneys to present the terms of the agreement for approval to the city council on Monday.
Then, assuming the other parties in the suit also agree to the terms, Duhon said the commissioners court would vote Feb. 11 on whether to approve the settlement.
“I think it’s going to be a great thing for the county because it enables the county to move forward,” Duhon said of the expected settlement. “It’ll enable a lot of healing to begin between the citizens and county government.”
Tide Turns In Fight Over Controversial Landfill
~As posted by FOX 26 News
A proposed legal settlement could be sending a very strong message that county government officials are now joining land owners in opposition. That hasn't always been the case.
It's been a brutal four year battle to block a proposed landfill near Hempstead, but it looks like opponents of the 700 acre dump could register a solid, but temporary win.
A new slade of Waller County leaders confirmed that they are poised to give out a six-figure settlement in the wake of a jury verdict that stated that the administration had cut secret deals about the dump, in violation of transparency laws.
Pintail Landfill Trial Verdict: Jury Rules Waller County Violated Texas Open Meetings Law
~Article as posted from Houston Public Media.
Thursday, December 18th, 2014 08:56 PM
A verdict in a trial seeking to stop a new landfill in Waller County is not the end of the case. It’s up to the judge to deliver a final ruling. The plan is for the dump to be filled mostly with trash from greater Houston.
A jury Thursday deliberated for about two hours before finding Waller County commissioners violated the Texas Open Meetings Act when they discussed the controversial landfill without including the public.
The lawsuit filed by the city of Hempstead against Waller County came after the county passed an ordinance that enables a landfill to be built outside the town, which is about 50 miles northwest of Houston. Many residents oppose the project, fearing the development will harm the environment.
Attorney Corey Ouslander represents the city in this case.
“Now those actions can be voided by the judge because those are illegal actions that ended up with a public vote regarding the ordinance and the host agreement,” Ouslander said.
Judge Terry Flenniken is set to issue a final ruling on January 21, 2015.
Brent Ryan is an attorney for Pintail Landfill, the company, that plans to build the dump and which is also a defendant in the lawsuit.
He said regardless of the outcome, the company plans to build the landfill, which is awaiting a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
“We’re confident the project meets all of the applicable permitting requirements,” Ryan said. “And we’ll move forward to get our permit and develop the project.”
He said since Pintail filed its permit application before any county ordinances were passed, the judge’s ruling will not affect the project.
CALH Activity Update - 2/27/15
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Agreed Final Judgment
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Compromise Settlement Agreement and Release
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Joint Motion for Entry of Agreed Final Judgment
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Settlement Term Letter for Pintail Litigation
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Status Update of February 20
Waller County Settles Landfill Suit, Seeks To Block Project
~Article as posted from The Houston Chronicle
After two fraught years of legal battle, the lawsuit over a proposed Waller County landfill came to a quiet close Friday with a deal that ensures the civil case against the county will not be appealed but that does not prevent the landfill from being built.
The county commissioners court's 3-2 vote Friday morning to approve the settlement comes two months after a jury found that commissioners violated transparency laws in agreeing to host the 250-acre landfill near the small city of Hempstead, about 50 miles northwest of Houston. The settlement voids the county's 2013 ordinance and host agreement authorizing the waste site while stipulating that the county will pay $570,000 in attorneys' fees incurred by the plaintiffs, the city of Hempstead and the group Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead.
However, the fate of the project remains in limbo, as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, not Waller County, has final say over whether the landfill gets built. The landfill company's permit application is scheduled to be reviewed in a contested case hearing in August.
A chance to heal
"This landfill has caused a lot of damage in this county," County Judge Trey Duhon said before voting to approve the settlement, which he said he believes is in the county's best interest, fees and all. "I hope this is an opportunity for this county to start to heal."
Commissioners Russell Klecka and John Amsler also voted in favor of the deal.
"It's very sad that it had to be done this way," Amsler said. "But now - now we the people of Waller County who do not want this landfill, because of this trial, I maintain that we occupy the moral high ground."
The two commissioners who opposed the deal, Jeron Barnett and Justin Beckendorff, cited concerns about the financial impact of the deal on the county, with Barnett also worrying that the nullification of the 2013 landfill ordinance would leave other areas of the county open to a waste site.
As Beckendorff, whose father Glenn Beckendorff was county judge when Waller agreed to the landfill, put it, "This is a lose-lose-lose situation."
"Rainy days are coming," Barnett said.
The trial concerned the legality of Waller County's 2013 decision to reverse a 2011 ordinance that prohibited the proposed Pintail Landfill and instead sign an agreement to host the project. The vote was 3-2. The city of Hempstead and Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead sued. They challenged the county's jurisdiction over the landfill area - it's located partially within the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction - as well as the commissioners' alleged lack of transparency throughout the approval process.
The county judge at the time said the lifted restrictions would not have held up, given the timeline of Pintail's permit application.
Duhon, for his part, addressed concerns Friday about the attorneys' fees that the county now must cover.
"I don't take the expenditure of these fees lightly by any means," Duhon said, but noted that he thought the county could have been asked to pay more had it not agreed to a deal.
Following the commissioners court's discussion and approval of the settlement, retired state District Judge Terry Flenniken signed the final judgment, calling the case to a close before some 30 attendees, many of whom had been present throughout the trial.
"This is what Waller County wanted," said Brent Ryan, an attorney for the landfill company, Pintail. He reiterated that the company is moving forward with its plans for the waste site.
Now the county is shifting attention to the contested case hearing in August over Pintail's permit application, and to developing a comprehensive waste management plan.
"With this order," Duhon said, "our work is just beginning."
Waller County Commissioners Court – February 20, 2015
Waller County Landfill Deal Ruled Illegal
~Article as posted by KBTX.com
Thursday, December 18, 2014, 10:46 PM
HEMPSTEAD - A Waller County jury has thrown out a deal that approved a 15-story landfill along Highway 6.
It was ruled that Waller County Commissioners violated state public information and open meeting laws by passing a 2013 ordinance granting Green Group the OK to put their landfill just north of Hempstead.
Waller County residents raised more than half a million dollars to prove the landfill deal was a backroom deal.
This fall, anyone who was part of the landfill deal in November was voted out of office by Waller County residents.