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10/14/94 JASPER CITY COUNCIL v. PENN WOODS

October 14, 1994

THE JASPER CITY COUNCIL, ET AL.
v.
PENN WOODS



Appeal from Walker Circuit Court. (CV-94-99). Horace H. Nation III, TRIAL JUDGE.

Released for Publication January 17, 1995.

Steagall, Maddox, Almon, Shores, Houston, Kennedy, and Ingram, JJ. concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Steagall

STEAGALL, JUSTICE.

The defendants, the Jasper city council and council members V. L. Posey, John Rollins, and Lee Swann, appeal from an order of the Walker Circuit Court ruling that Mayor Penn Woods's veto of certain resolutions adopted by a majority of the city council was valid to nullify those resolutions. We reverse and remand.

I.

On February 10, 1994, the city council adopted certain resolutions prohibiting the City of Jasper Sanitation Department from disposing of solid waste, *fn1 other than inert materials, at the Jasper city landfill through the end of the fiscal year, i.e., September 30, 1994. On February 12, Woods executed a document stating that he had vetoed the council's actions. Ala. Code 1975, §§ 11-45-3 and -4, provide mayors of cities with populations of 12,000 or more (this population classification would include Jasper) the authority to veto "resolutions or ordinances intended to be of permanent operation." § 11-45-3. However, a mayor's veto may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the members of the city council. § 11-45-4.

On February 22, Woods filed an action seeking a judgment declaring that his veto was effective and that the resolutions of the city council were null and void, and requesting an injunction to enforce such a ruling. The court held a hearing on March 3, at which it received ore tenus testimony, and on March 7 it held that Woods's veto was invalid as to budgetary items, but was valid as to the resolutions relating to the council's prohibition on disposal of solid waste, other than inert materials, at the Jasper city landfill. The court's March 7 order concluded that "all of the actions of the landfill are both permanent and general in their application, no matter what their nomenclature."

On March 15, Woods moved the trial court to alter, amend, or vacate that part of the order that had invalidated Woods's veto over budgetary items. The court on March 18 granted Woods's motion and vacated that portion of the order. In response, the city council petitioned this Court for a writ of mandamus directing the Walker Circuit Court to order Woods to comply with a certain budgetary resolution adopted at the February 10 meeting. We treated the mandamus petition as a motion for a stay and, on April 5, 1994, stayed the trial court's March 18 order, pending the outcome of the council's appeal, which was filed on April 18, 1994.

II.

The trial court's first order summarized the council's February 10, 1994, motions on which the resolutions were based:

"Motion #2 - February 10, 1994:

"A motion by Councilman Rollins that a garbage tax or fee not be levied for the remainder of the Council term, which carried by a vote of 3 to 2.

"Motion #3 - February 10, 1994:

"A motion by Councilman Swann that the Council not provide funding for a Subtitle D landfill for the fiscal year 1993-1994, ...


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