Recycling committee votes to privatize

Published 11:41 pm Tuesday, September 16, 2008

NATCHEZ — On Tuesday evening the recycling committee voted to privatize the yet-to-be-formed recycling program.

Committee member Dickey King said privatizing the program would simplify the process and would keep costs to the county and the city at an absolute minimum.

The option that committee members voted against would have had the county and city using grant money to purchase equipment and hire employees to monitor the recycling sites, among several other expenses.

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Adams County Supervisor and committee member Mike Lazarus said he was also in favor of the privatization.

“They’re invested, and they’ll make it work,” Lazarus said of the possible companies that could handle the recyclables. “It’s a good idea.”

King said residents would drop-off recyclables at a site in the county or with the contractor, then the contractor would sell the materials and give money from the materials to the county.

King said he has not discussed monetary specifics with either of the two groups that have been named as tentative contractors — Natchez Metals and Preferred Transport LLC.

And while the privatization option was the choice of the committee, questions arose over how popular the choice would be with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

Natchez grants coordinator Brett Brinegar said the DEQ may not issue a grant for the privatization of the program.

And that grant money is what would be used to start the project.

“We would have to check with them,” she said.

King also provided a breakdown of how the grant could be spent.

He said up to $15,000 could be spent on buying containers for city and county residents to haul recyclables, approximately $10,000 on high volume containers and approximately $10,000 on publicity and education.

King stressed all of those figures were preliminary.

Brinegar said she will contact the DEQ to find out if the grant could be used in accordance with Tuesday’s proposal.

The next recycling committee meeting is on Sept. 22.