Idaho cities are acting within their rights when they grant a private company exclusive authority to provide waste hauling services. It wasn’t always clear that this path was unassailable, however.

In 2000, the City of Fruitland found itself legally embroiled after the city struck an exclusive deal, a 10-year franchise agreement with Hardin Sanitation. The problem was, there was a second waste hauler already operating in town. To try to stop the second firm’s collection activities, the city cited one of the firm’s employees, sparking a lawsuit from the company.

The city eventually prevailed in the Idaho Supreme Court, but the case was a multi-year slog. As late as 2005, the Fruitland City Council was continuing to consult with an expert from the Idaho Counties Risk Management Program on the pros and cons of providing an exclusive franchise, which is the direction the city went. The current agreement is with Hardin, a 15-year pact which is in its final few years.

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