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Moorpark Panel Urges Pact With New Waste Hauler

September 04, 1996|DAVID R. BAKER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Moorpark officials have recommended that the city let a Dallas-based company take over local garbage collection from a Simi Valley firm still languishing in bankruptcy court.

A committee reviewing the proposed sale of Simi Valley's G.I. Industries to U.S.A. Waste of Dallas has recommended that the City Council transfer to U.S.A. Waste exclusive rights to haul Moorpark's trash. The council is scheduled to review the recommendation tonight.

For several months, the city has studied the planned sale of G.I. Industries, which currently holds exclusive garbage-collecting contracts in Moorpark, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and eastern Ventura County.

In April, a federal bankruptcy court judge granted conditional approval to the sale, provided officials in the areas G.I. Industries serves agreed to transfer their contracts. Simi Valley and Ventura County officials have already approved the switch.

"It's been a long haul, and from what I see, I think we need to move forward on this and make sure we'll have someone picking up the trash," said Mayor Paul Lawrason.

Moorpark officials delayed their decision to determine whether the sale would affect service. They also wanted more information on the company that would replace G.I. Industries.

When bankruptcy Judge Robin Riblet conditionally approved the sale, the company hoping to buy G.I. Industries was Western Waste Industries, based in Torrance. However, Western Waste has since been purchased by U.S.A. Waste.

Officials in the cities G.I. Industries serves had expressed concerns about Western Waste's corporate conduct after one of the company's former executives was charged in a Louisiana political corruption scandal. In August, former Vice President Vernon Hizel was fined $5,000 and sentenced to three years probation for arranging to make a $150,000 payoff to a Louisiana state legislator.

Moorpark officials said Tuesday that if G.I. Industries is sold, the company will remain intact as a subsidiary of U.S.A. Waste. Its employees will work with U.S.A. Waste, not with Western Waste.

"We're going to be dealing with G.I., and they're going to be dealing directly with U.S.A.," said Councilman John Wozniak, who served on the committee reviewing G.I.'s proposed sale.

Even so, the committee's recommendation comes with some strings attached. Committee members suggested the council approve the transfer pending the bankruptcy judge's final approval of G.I. Industries' sale. Under the proposed agreement, G.I. Industries would pay the city a franchise transfer fee worth 5% of the company's revenue for the last 12 months. City officials estimate the fee at $80,000.

The committee also recommended cutting several years off the trash-hauling contract U.S.A. hopes to take over. The current contract with G.I. Industries runs until December 2000. If approved by the City Council, the contract with U.S.A. would last just two years from the date of G.I. Industries' sale to U.S.A. Waste.

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