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Waste Management suspends trash pickup in Ferriday

FERRIDAY — Residents of the Town of Ferriday have found themselves in a temporary trash limbo after Waste Management suspended pickup in the area because of a $200,616 past due bill.

The Ferriday Board of Alderman had a specially called meeting Friday morning to discuss a notice that arrived at Town Hall Thursday saying that Waste Management was suspending all residential garbage collection in the area.

Mayor Gene Allen said the town’s previous administration let the bill pile up.

“When I took office on July 1, 2012, that amount was already on the books needing to be paid,” Allen said. “We owed them a bunch of money, and I guess they got tired of carrying us.”

Allen said the town continued paying its monthly bills to Waste Management, but that no money was available to pay the past due balance.

“Unfortunately, over the past two years, the Town of Ferriday has had difficulty meeting the financial obligations of the contract with Waste Management,” Allen said. “We’re going to try and sit down with them and see if we can’t pay them a certain amount of money a month to get that taken care of.

“We’re not just going to let that sit there unpaid.”

Warren Guedry, manager of public sector solutions for the Waste Management Gulf Coast Area, said in a press release Friday that company officials have been attempting to cooperate with the town since 2011.

“Waste Management has suspended all residential garbage collection and commenced picking up its carts in Ferriday after lengthy discussions with the town regarding its significant past-due account have repeatedly failed,” Guedry said in the press release. “Dating back to 2011, Waste Management has participated in discussions with the town regarding its outstanding bill, all the while continuing to deliver residential services to the town.

“Waste Management regrets that this action has become necessary. If and when an agreement is reached, we will move quickly to restore all residential collection services.”

At the specially called meeting Friday morning, the board sent out urgent proposals to two waste disposal companies, Waste Pro and Delta Disposal, asking for pricing information for their services.

The board voted to give Allen permission to accept the proposal for the lowest bid and move forward with one of those two companies.

“I’m hoping to accept a bid first thing Monday morning,” Allen said. “Garbage will be picked up by Waste Management throughout the weekend until all garbage is collected.

“My office does understand that frustration levels are high, but we assure you that this situation is being resolved as quickly as possible.”

If a bid is accepted Monday morning, Allen said he plans on having the new waste company pick up resident’s trash Tuesday morning.