Residents see garbage rates fall, but…

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Under a vote taken Monday by county supervisors, sanitation customers living outside Natchez’s city limits would pay 50 cents less per month starting June 1.

They will also get limbs and leaves picked up. The catch? They’ll only get their garbage and debris picked up once a week instead of the current two times a week.

With the county facing the loss of $921,000 in tax revenues from the closing of International Paper’s Natchez mill, which is set to shut down this summer, such cuts are needed, proponents said.

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&uot;The money’s got to come from somewhere,&uot; said board President Lynwood Easterling.

&uot;But not at the expense of our residents’ quality of life,&uot; said Vice President Darryl Grennell. With pick-up only once a week, more garbage will end up dumped in bayous or strewn by dogs, he said.

The move &045; along with the board’s switching companies from Waste Management to Preferred Transport, also voted on Monday &045; will save an estimated $126,771 a year, according to county estimates.

The board voted 4-1, with Grennell voting no, to switch to once-a-week pickup and accept Preferred Transport’s low bid of $263,497 a month for once-a-week garbage, limb and leaf pick-up.

Waste Management, which has had the county’s contract for several years, currently charges the county $423,453 a month for twice-a-week pick-up of garbage only. That company had submitted a bid of $286,727 for once-a-week pick-up of garbage and debris.

The board also voted to reduce per-household garbage fees from $9 to $8.50 a month, with Supervisor Sammy Cauthen voting against.

&uot;We’re paying to subsidize&uot; garbage pickup as it is, Cauthen said.

Exact figures on how much garbage pick-up costs the county, and how much of that cost is picked up by per-household fees, were not available as of Monday. &uot;We’re helping to pay for the shortfall,&uot; said Supervisor Thomas &uot;Boo&uot; Campbell.

&uot;People in the county are programmed to expect their garbage picked up twice a week,&uot; Grennell said.

However, Easterling said he checked with counties throughout the state and believes that Adams County is the only one to pick up garbage two times a week.

&uot;It’s going to take an education attempt&uot; to explain the new system to county residents, said Supervisor Virginia Salmon. &uot;We better do some high selling.&uot;