It appears that local businesses in New Braunfels have won their battle to overturn the city's disposable container ordinance.
A judge indicating Monday to the attorneys that he will side with the businesses, effectively ending the city's so-called "can ban" and cooler regulations.
Since the city of New Braunfels put its disposable container ordinance in effect last year, local businesses that rely on river tourism have reported a major decrease in business.
According to their attorney Jim Ewbank, revenues were down 50 percent last summer.
"The fact of the matter is once this became known all over the state that the disposable container ban was in place, then there was a huge decrease in the number of people that came and rented tubes and purchased food and beverage in disposable containers -- a 50 percent decrease," Jim Ewbank said in a phone interview.
Ewbank said the judge hearing the case has indicated in a letter that he will side with the businesses, finding the disposable container ban and a second ordinance regulating the size of coolers unconstitutional and unenforceable by the city.
Despite the legal victory, Ewbank expects the city to appeal the decision.
"The city may appeal it. That's been their practice in the past to try and delay the inevitable and to incur significant costs and fees that are unnecessary and are a burden upon the taxpayers for ordinances that have now been declared unconstitutional," Ewbank said.
The decision may have come too late for a two local businesses that were part of the lawsuit. Ewbank said the decrease in river tourism was too much for them handle.
"There have been two of the smaller outfitters that have simply not been able to maintain their business with that sort of decrease," Ewbank said.
Instead of more costly legal battles, Ewbank is hopeful both sides can sit down and hammer out an agreement to move forward.
"We would like to sit down with the city and work out a mutual solution that achieves the balances and the goals of both parties, which is to control the pollution and control the litter in the rivers and allow people to come out and have a good time," Ewbank said.
The city of New Braunfels refused to comment on the latest legal development.
An attorney representing the city in this case said he wants to withhold comment until the ruling is officially made by the judge.
In the meantime, he plans to talk with the city council to explain their options moving forward.
If the ruling stands, local businesses and river outfitters are hopeful the ordinances will be repealed in time for tubing season this summer.