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LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) -
They've been hauling garbage since last summer, but this week the owners of Livingston Waste were told to stop collection. Parish leaders say the company is not following the rules, but the owners say some those rules make it impossible for a small business to survive.
Collection cans that belong to Livingston Waste are concentrated in just a few areas. But one day, Jack Fridge hopes his company will pick up all over the parish. Right now they have 600 customers, with another 800 on a waiting list.
But some of their current customers are canceling.
"We've had a few people cancel, because they aren't sure we're going to be around," said Fridge.
This week, Livingston Waste was issued a cease and desist order from the parish. It says the company is not following the ordinance for trash collection.
Fridge says back in August, he was told he needed an occupational license and haulers permit.
"We asked at the beginning is there an ordinance? A contract? Anything we need to do? Let me check with the lawyers is what our parish president said. He checked, got back with us and told us no. That's all you need, good luck," said Fridge.
Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks says in December, Livingston Waste was told they had 90 days to comply with the ordinance. Ricks says he has not heard from the company since that time.
"At some point you have to step in and say other people are under contract, they're following the ordinance. They meet the ordinance and collections agreements. Anybody who's going to haul waste in Livingston Parish has to play on the same playing field," Ricks said.
Ricks says Livingston Waste is not collecting parish wide, like the ordinance says. Fridge says they will add customers and want to buy more trucks, but says he was instructed by the parish administration to hold off.
The other issue involves the company's million dollar general liability police, that's less than the $5,000,000 the ordinance requires.
"Can't get a five million dollar umbrella and a three million dollar pollution impairment policy because we're too small. No one will cover it," Fridge said.
Ricks says he is not familiar with their concerns about the insurance requirements. He says that's why the company, parish officials and parish council members need to sit down and discuss what needs to happen now.
"If the insurance requirements are the only thing we're looking at then maybe they grant a variance to the ordinance. Maybe they redo the ordinance. But the problem when you amend an ordinance to fit a certain company to help them stay in business - what happens to other people under contract?" Ricks asked.
He says he isn't trying to shut the business down, but Fridge still worries the ordinance, right now, makes it impossible for a small company to compete.
A special meeting to address Livingston Waste will follow the regular meeting of the parish council, Thursday night.