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City garbage decision to be made Monday

NATCHEZ — Despite some trash talking, Mayor Butch Brown says the aldermen have enough information to decide the future of garbage in the city.

That decision will be handled in a specially called meeting set for noon Monday in the Natchez City Council Chambers.

The mayor and board of aldermen met Tuesday afternoon in front of an audience primarily made up garbage company representatives to answer any questions aldermen had about ongoing negotiations for the city’s garbage contract.

But before any questions were asked, Brown expressed his frustration and disappointment with comments circulating about the city’s handling of negotiations.

“We have heard that some of the bidders don’t like the way we are doing business,” Brown said. “My relationships in the city have been questioned.”

Brown said despite the rumors, board attorney Hyde Carby has been methodical, careful and cautious with the negotiations — so much so that they have gone on far too long.

“Through an abundance of caution this has taken longer than it should. I am comfortable that what we have done here is perfectly legal and perfectly practical.”

Brown also said he wanted to clear up any other rumors that may have been spread about the current company with which the city contracts.

“You may have heard that if Waste Management doesn’t get these contracts, they will close their landfill.”

Brown said the city dumps about 7,000 tons of garbage each year compared to the 93,000 tons that Waste Management handles each year.

“When less than 10 percent (of their garbage) comes from the city, I don’t believe that will happen.”

Brown said the city has also been receiving calls from Waste Management employees expressing concerns that they will lose their jobs. Brown said that the other contractors have said they will offer jobs to those currently working with Waste Management should they get the contract.

“In other words, there will be no net jobs lost, and in my opinion no landfill closed.”

The mayor and board are currently negotiating two contracts — one for garbage collection and one for disposal. A request for proposals was sent out on Oct. 22.

Since then, the proposals submitted have been winnowed down to the most qualified contractors.

Waste Management and Riverbend Environmental Services were selected as the most qualified contractors for garbage disposal. Waste Management and Waste Pro were selected as the most qualified for garbage collection.

Those contractors were then asked an identical set of questions as part of the second phase of negotiations. The answers will help the board compare each company and make an informed decision, Carby said.

Tuesday’s work session at the Natchez Convention Center gave aldermen the opportunity to ask anything pertaining to the answers submitted by contractors.

Most inquiries pertained to specific details of the contract like franchise fees, host fees and recycling costs. Overall, the aldermen expressed satisfaction in the information that was submitted.

“We have two great proposals and enough information to make an informed decision,” Alderwoman Sarah Carter Smith said.

“I think it will yield the results we are looking for,” Alderman Dan Dillard said. “It is nice to know that there are people eager for our business.”

The board would not release details of the bids, but Carby said the information would be made public in the minutes after a decision of the contracts are made.