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Officials clarify Waste Pro USA fund amount

NATCHEZ — The approximately $126,000 the City of Natchez owes Waste Pro USA only includes $63,000 that has accumulated since July because the city underpaid monthly payments.

Waste Pro Division Manager Doug Atkins said Tuesday the city owes the company approximately $126,000. Atkins clarified Wednesday that figure includes approximately $63,000 for underpayments, and the rest is this month’s bill for service.

The city awarded Waste Pro a contract for collection and disposal in November 2012.

Waste Management, which was also vying for the contract, subsequently sued the city, disputing the contract award.

While the lawsuit was being reviewed by Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson, Waste Pro began service for the city.

The contract was voided, and Johnson ruled the city had to restart the process.

During the second round of requesting proposals from companies, the city elected to include a recycling program and new trashcans, increasing the price of the contract, which was again awarded to Waste Pro.

When the new contract began in July, the city did not adjust its payment schedule for the contract, and City Clerk Donnie Holloway said the city did not receive invoices for the new amount from Waste Pro.

Waste Pro discovered two or three months ago, Atkins said, that the city had not been paying the proper amount.

The discovery came after the company established a Miss-Lou Division and increased personnel.

During the establishment of the new division and personnel changes, the once-a-year franchise fee Waste Pro pays the city also fell through the cracks, Atkins said.

The fee is an established percentage of the company’s commercial service revenues, which equates to approximately $4,100.

Mayor Butch Brown suggested at Tuesday’s meeting the city take that fee and apply it toward what the city owes Waste Pro.

The city and Waste Pro are also working toward establishing a final accurate house count of the residences receiving trash service.

The contract was based on service for 6,000 households, but Atkins said after a physical count of houses, Waste Pro calculates it is serving approximately 6,448 residences.

That figure is higher than the number of residences being billed for services by Natchez Water Works.

Brown said the issues are not a contentious matter between the city and Waste Pro.

“It’s just a matter of getting the house count straight and adjusting to the new payment schedule,” he said.