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BOC talks trash plan settlement

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Officials negotiated a possible settlement on the county's trash feud Tuesday, but the results were unclear at the end of they day.

"All the parties will be working with Judge Ingram on the next step," County Administrator Glenn Stephens said, adding that the talks ended after 6 p.m., but that the mediator asked for the outcome to be kept confidential.

Sessions were held with more than a dozen attorneys representing the county government, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful and waste haulers embroiled in a lawsuit over a now-defunct trash plan that was thrown out in court last year.

The day began with the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners meeting mostly behind closed doors to discuss a settlement proposed by the haulers.

"Let's have some give and take and get this behind us," said Conley Ingram, a senior judge in Cobb County who mediated the issues. "We've got a lot of important matters to resolve. It's going to take some negotiation."

Last year, officials divided the county into districts and used a bidding process to select one vendor that would haul trash for all county residents in the district.

When two vendors were chosen for the six districts, haulers who were not awarded contracts filed a lawsuit.

When the new trash plan was thrown out last December, another lawsuit was filed by the haulers who were awarded the contracts but lost money after they beefed up their operations but were not able to begin service.

"I'm looking for a global settlement," Ingram said, adding that he hoped the day's mediation, which was the second round of talks, would end "the whole ball of wax."

Stephens said further mediation has not been scheduled.