City recycling pickup to be suspended?

Published 12:04 am Thursday, November 23, 2017


NATCHEZ — Aldermen next week are scheduled to vote on an emergency contract that would re-up the city’s garbage collection services with Waste Pro for the next four to six months.

The contract, however, would suspend recycling pickup in order to maintain the $11.26 monthly rate for residents.

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Waste Pro Regional Vice President of the Miss-Lou Randy Waterlander said the city is in the process of drafting the contract.

“It’s unfortunate we got to this stage this late in the game, but part of the reason we did the deal is because we want to take care of the citizens of Natchez,” Waterlander said.

A decision by the aldermen in August to decline a one-year extension with Waste Pro backfired when the city failed to issue a request for proposals (RFP) before the contract’s Nov. 30 expiration date.

The board had hoped to secure a month-to-month extension with Waste Pro under the same terms as the current deal so the city could have time to carry out an RFP.

But City Attorney Bob Latham said Waste Pro did not agree to such an extension.

With the city backed into a corner, the two sides came to an agreement Monday, and Latham said the Attorney General’s office agreed to allow the city to contract with Waste Pro in light of the impending expiration of the current contract.

Though municipalities normally must go through the RFP process to contract for waste collection, Latham said the factor of time constituted an emergency in this case.

“To be able to contract, to extend a time frame to get the RFP issued so that you can … move forward with it, we just needed three or four months to do that,” Latham said.

Though the contract could last a minimum of four and a maximum of six months, Latham said the last two months would only be necessary should the city experience any stumbling blocks in the RFP process or not have a new contract by the end of the four-month period.

Prior to the two sides’ negotiations on Monday, Waterlander expressed that Waste Pro would likely propose a rate increase. Instead, the two sides agreed upon a reduction in services rather than a rate hike.

“I think nobody is 100-percent happy right now, but nobody is 100-percent frustrated either,” he said.

Mayor Darryl Grennell said he aims to set up a spot at the Natchez Convention Center for residents to drop off their recyclables, though he has yet to get that idea approved.

“I’ve still got to get the ‘OK’ from the convention center,” Grennell said.

While Grennell noted the board of aldermen must make the final decision, he said the city did what it had to do by sacrificing recycling to keep rates the same.

Waterlander said suspending recycling lowers the company’s operating expenses, though he would not divulge the particular toll recycling has on Waste Pro in terms of cost.

The contract’s approval is pending until the aldermen’s vote, which is on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the City Council Chambers.