Agreement in place to bring restaurant into compliance

Published 8:32 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BELHAVEN — Trash talk took up a large portion of Monday night’s Belhaven Board of Aldermen meeting.

Mayor Adam O’Neal presented town attorney Wendel Hutchins’ opinion to the board (with Hutchins in attendance), stating that allowing Spoon River Artworks and Market to contract with another trash company other than David’s Trash Service violates a town ordinance.

The board, however, took no action against Spoon River on Monday, as two officials confirmed there is already an agreement in place for the restaurant to return to David’s Trash.

The trash service dilemma arose months ago after O’Neal criticized Belhaven Manager Woody Jarvis for his decision to allow Spoon River to contract with another company. David’s Trash cites a certain limit for the size of those particular trash containers, but the restaurant often has more waste than the limit.

Because of the excessive weight, David’s Trash stated it was unable to pick up the restaurant’s trash one week, so the owners contacted Jarvis about the problem, as they were concerned about health hazards and needing space for weekend service.

Jarvis defended his decision, saying he spoke with the parties involved and board members before acting to find a solution to the problem.

“The way I see it, and the way the majority of the town council sees it, is they’re getting their trash dumped, and everybody is moving on,” Jarvis said. “I’m only using what I think is using a good common-sense approach to this.”

Spoon River owner Teresa Van Staalduinen also said previously that the restaurant plans to lay concrete pads to support larger containers once its Community Development Block Grant-funded expansion project, and the subsequent construction, is underway. Then, the restaurant will return to David’s Trash, utilizing those larger containers.

Jarvis said Hutchins advised that taking Spoon River to court over the issue could result in a ruling placing precedence on state health laws over a town trash ordinance, which would not bode well for the town. He also said the revenue lost from the temporary switch is relatively small, and he believes the town could benefit more from the sales taxes with Spoon River open.

O’Neal argued that the situation was a case of favoritism for a business. In response, he and Arthur’s Community Mart owner Arthur Bonner requested to have their trash service contract terminated, as well, and the town complied with their wishes.

“The council has refused to deal with this issue because the town manager wants to do a favor for his friends who own Spoon River. Spoon River has not paid the town for trash for several months now, and (every) month delaying addressing the issue is costing more money and the town’s integrity with enforcing ordinances equally,” O’Neal wrote in a July 11 email.

On Monday, O’Neal also brought up a recent situation with Speedway, which also requested to have their trash service ended, but the Town denied Speedway this option because of the town ordinance. O’Neal argued that this further proves his accusations of favoritism.

However, Jarvis said there was a lot more to the story, and the situation was different from that of Spoon River.

“David’s Trash Service got an email from a trash providing company that said their dumpsters were no longer needed, and they emailed me that notice and asked me if I could help them,” Jarvis explained.

When Jarvis called, he said Speedway was not able to give an answer on this notice and referred him back to the Town’s corporate offices.

“Some of these national chains use a national consortium or business to manage their subservices, and I feel like that’s what this is,” Jarvis said. “Until we get something from Speedway, I have kind of told David’s let’s just wait and see what happens.”

O’Neal and Jarvis said Speedway is still being billed in compliance with the town ordinance.