A county (or counties in multicounty solid waste regions) may decide to form a solid waste authority to operate all solid waste systems within the region. (See the Solid Waste Authority Act in T.C.A. §§ 68-211-901 through 68-211- 925.) Cities may participate or remain outside the authority, although all counties in the region must agree to the creation of the authority before it may be formed; a municipality with most of its territory in the county creating the authority may participate. T.C.A. § 68-211-903. Similarly, the authority can be dissolved by agreement of its participating counties and cities. The board of directors may be composed of the same members as the region's solid waste board, but this is not required. The method of selection, officers required, terms of office, and vacancy procedures are described in T.C.A. §§ 68-211-904, 68-211-905.
The advantage of using a solid waste authority to oversee the region's waste management lies in the authority's broad statutory powers. The solid waste authority is a separate legal entity that may issue bonds, incur debts, enter into contracts, and exercise the power of eminent domain. With the concurrence of the counties and municipalities participating in the solid waste authority, it may exercise exclusive control over the publicly owned solid waste systems within its boundaries. T.C.A. § 68-211-906.