County residents will have a chance to be heard on increased garbage fees

Published 3:20 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Adams County residents will have an opportunity sometime in early October to be heard about how they feel about the potential for their monthly garbage collection fee to more than double soon.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors must raise fees on county residents to cover an almost $1 million increased cost to the county for garbage collection.

The county approved a new garbage contract with United Infrastructure Services on March 6 in a three-to-two split decision. In addition to the more than $900,000 annual increase in garbage collection costs, the contract also includes an additional approximately 5 percent annual increase for each year of the contract.

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Supervisors Warren Gaines, Angela Hutchins and Ricky Gray voted to approve a six-year contract with United Infrastructure Services to provide twice-a-week garbage collection in the county. Supervisors Kevin Wilson and Wes Middleton voted against the twice-a-week bid, saying the county could not afford that service, and urged the Gaines, Hutchins and Gray to consider once-a-week pickup.

In late 2022, the county’s then-garbage collection provider, New Orleans-based Metro Services, filed for bankruptcy primarily to get out of its contract with Adams County and with Jonesville, La., which it had deemed no longer profitable.

A Louisiana judge granted the bankruptcy and allowed the owners and managers of Metro Services to form the new company, United Infrastructure, and continue to do business.

In March 2023, United Infrastructure bid $25.33 per month per residence for twice-a-week pickup in Adams County.

Arrow Disposal Services, which is the garbage contractor for the City of Natchez, bid $26.66 for that same service in the county.

However, Arrow Disposal also proposed the county move to one-day-per-week pickup at a rate of $17.45 per month per residence. Arrow would also provide each residence a 95-gallon container to hold household garbage.

The county absorbed the additional $600,000 it cost taxpayers during the county’s 2022-2023 fiscal year, seeming to avoid increasing fees on county residents before the August primary election.

The board of supervisors has discussed raising fees on residents from the current $15 per month to as much as $35 per month. That’s in addition to the 9-plus mill tax increase supervisors have approved already.

County Attorney said the date of the public hearing would be advertised in a public notice in The Natchez Democrat when the date has been finalized.