Drastically increased garbage fees heighten county’s budget woes

Published 6:33 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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NATCHEZ — The consultant hired to help Adams County with its budget expressed concern about the three-fold increase in what the county spends now to collect the garbage of residents in the county.

Chuck Lambert, hired to help the county with its budget since it is without a full-time county administrator, said supervisors are either going to have to increase garbage collection fees on residents or raise property taxes on properties not within the City of Natchez to cover the increased costs.

To make matters worse, the county has a large percentage of residents who simply do not pay their monthly garbage collection fees and the county has not been able to collect that money.

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On Monday during public budget hearings, county attorney Scott Slover said he did not know a percentage of those fees that are not collected.

On March 6 by a three-to-two vote, supervisors selected United Infrastructure Services for its garbage collection. Supervisors Warren Gaines, Ricky Gray and Angela Hutchins voted to approve a contract by the company that is the successor of the now-bankrupt Metro Services.

In late 2022, Metro Services filed bankruptcy in order to get out of its contract with Adams County.

Supervisors Kevin Wilson and Wes Middleton voted against the contract, saying supervisors should explore ways to save money, like dropping to garbage collection one day a week, rather than two.

Since March, the county has eaten about $600,000 in increased expenses. In the coming budget year, supervisors are faced now with finding a way to afford the increase they voted to approve.

In addition to an increase in garbage collection fees, “the only other option is to add a tax levy to the properties outside of Natchez,” Lambert said.

The county’s budget hearings continued throughout the day on Tuesday.