City extends cable, looks at trash

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NATCHEZ — The Natchez Board of Aldermen voted at its Tuesday meeting to extend one contract and solicit proposals for another in an effort to partner with the county to get more competitive bids for cable and trash collection and disposal.

The aldermen voted, at the suggestion of Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Smith, to extend the city’s franchise agreement with Cable ONE until June 2013. Extending the contract, Smith said, would allow the city to get a better agreement or more competitive bids.

“We feel we’ll have more leverage to look at our options,” Smith said.

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Smith noted that there have been issues with Cable ONE’s customer service.

“And since they have cut our local employees, we have seen problems,” she said.

The aldermen granted City Attorney Hyde Carby permission to solicit bids for trash collection and disposal in conjunction with the county.

The city’s collection contract with Waste Management expires in November, and the disposal contract expired in June 2013.

“But there’s certainly no reason we can’t go ahead and (solicit bids for the disposal contract) now,” Carby said.

Mayor Butch Brown said the cable agreement and trash contracts are part of several initiatives the city is working on with the county.

“We may not consolidate government, but we are moving forward and trying desperately to (consolidate services),” he said.

In other news from the meeting:

-The aldermen unanimously reappointed Thelma Newsome to the Natchez-Adams County School Board.

The board interviewed last week Newsome, Kim Stephens and Tammy Williams for the position.

Alderwoman Smith said she was pleased that three very qualified candidates were interested in the position.

As an employee of the school district, Ward 4 Alderman Tony Fields recused himself from the vote.

-Public Works Supervisor Justin Dollar asked the board if his department would be able to utilize its yearly bids with contractors for work in the event the contractors were needed for emergency damage control after Hurricane Isaac. Using the yearly bids would eliminate the city having to solicit more bids for work.

Brown told Dollar to do whatever is needed of public works for emergency response. He told Dollar to document every dollar spent so it could be submitted for reimbursement from the federal or state emergency management agencies.

The aldermen ratified Brown’s declaration of a state of emergency through executive order at the meeting so any monies spent for damage control and repair would be eligible for reimbursement.

Carby relayed a warning from the attorney general’s office for residents to be on the look out for people posing to be contractors offering repair services after the hurricane. Carby said the people posing as contractors often ask for a deposit for repairs that are never completed.

The board’s next meeting will be at 11 a.m. Sept. 11.