Leaders’ mistakes hit our wallets

Published 12:01 am Thursday, May 10, 2018

Natchez residents learned Tuesday the high cost of having city leaders who fail to pay attention.

Nine months ago, Natchez aldermen wisely voted not to renew the contract with its garbage collecting and recycling vendor. Then those same aldermen failed to follow the steps required to find a replacement provider.

In November, with literally no time to follow state-mandated procedures the city had to seek emergency permission to sign a temporary contract.

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Now, with another deadline looming, city aldermen approved Tuesday a measure to switch garbage haulers and resume curbside recycling, however the new contract comes with an increase of more than 25 percent over the previous rate.

Prior to November when the emergency deal eliminated recycling, the former rate was $13.74 per household for garbage collection and recycling pickup.

The new rate will be $18.45 including a $1 per household “tax” the city has to cover the costs of mosquito spraying.

That level of rate increase is stunning, but the manner in which all details of the garbage proposal have been handled is downright shameful.

This very public matter — one that literally touches the pocketbook of every city household — was handled in a very private, very secretive manner.
All negotiations and discussions regarding the specifics of the garbage collection agreement were held behind closed doors.

Until city residents elect people who are truly committed to transparency on public matters, such closed-door dealings will continue as they have for generations.