Gray challenges wording of motion; Wilson confirms Adams County’s garbage contractor ‘on the clock’

Published 11:53 am Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Adams County District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray sought to set the record straight on his motion at the supervisors’ last meeting, which involved writing a letter to the garbage contractor about performance issues.

At the beginning of Monday’s Adams County Board of Supervisors meeting, Gray said the minutes of the June 17 meeting and local media reporting contained an error.

Gray said the board members had met in executive session “about concerns we had — mainly your concerns, Mr. President, and other board members had something to say” about the garbage contractor missing scheduled pickups. However, Gray said, the newspaper reported a motion was “‘made by Gray to inform United Infrastructure it may be in breach of its contract.’ The motion that I made was to send (United Infastructure)  letter that they need to come to this meeting about some concerns we had. The terminology used — breach of contract — was not part of the motion. That was in the newspaper. In the minutes, it says that my motion was to ‘send them a notice of default.’ That was not my motion,” Gray said.

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District 2 Supervisor and president of the Board of Supervisors Kevin Wilson said Gray was splitting hairs.

“If you are calling them in because of all those things, isn’t that them being in default or breach of contract?” Wilson asked.

“I understand, Mr. President, but I didn’t make that motion. Somebody added onto that and said that, but that’s not what I moved,” Gray said. “The minutes say the motion is to send a notice of default to discuss the company’s performance. I didn’t use that term. When you are making a motion, you can’t change the motion to say something I did not say. I do agree they need to come in, but that is not the language I used.”

Wilson said he did not want to go backward regarding putting the county’s garbage contractor on notice of deficiencies in the service they are providing.

“A letter has been sent. Is that going to change anything we have done along these lines?”  Wilson asked, addressing additional questions to county attorney Scott Slover. “Is this going to change anything? Are they on the clock?”

Slover answered yes.

“The company has a reasonable opportunity to correct defects. The board wants to talk with the company to iron out issues. That’s standard for any contract. The party will have a chance to fix it, called a cure period,” Slover said after Monday’s meeting.

The portion of the contract covering termination and fines reads:

Section 32: TERMINATION/FINES: Except as otherwise provided herein, if either party breaches this Agreement or defaults in the performance of any of the covenants or conditions contained herein for fifteen (15) days after the other party has given the party breaching or defaulting written notice of such breach or default, unless a longer period of time is required to cure such breach or default and the party breaching or defaulting shall have commenced to cure such breach of default within said period and pursues diligently to the completion thereof, the other party may: (1) terminate this Agreement as of any date which the said other party may select provided said date is at least thirty (30) days after the fifteen (15) days in which to cure or commence curing;”

Click here to read the entire contract between Adams County and United Infrastructure.

Supervisors have been at odds over the garbage collection contract from the start.

County residents have let it be known they are upset about the service they are getting from United Infrastructure and the more than double increase they are paying for those services.

Earlier in June, Wilson asked Slover to go through the county’s contract with United Infrastructure to find the county’s remedies for a number of shortcomings residents are complaining about. Those complaints include:

• failure to pick up garbage when scheduled to do so.

• garbage being spilled into the streets from trucks.

• cans are thrown into driveways, ditches, and roads.

• garbage bags blowing out of trucks, trailers, and pickups that the company uses to haul garbage rather than garbage trucks.

• Drop boxes and convenience stations have been closed down.

• improper and insufficient equipment is used to collect the garbage. The contract called for the company to have new vehicles at the start of the contract so broken-down trucks do not stall garbage collection. Wilson said the company had used regular pickup trucks and flatbed trucks rather than actual garbage trucks to collect garbage. They have also collected trash from dumpsters by putting workers down into the dumpster and throwing the trash into a garbage collection truck rather than having or using the equipment needed to empty dumpsters properly.

• failure to hire Adams County residents to collect the garbage.

• failure to pick up dead animals from the roadway as the contract calls for.

• failure to assist senior citizens and disabled county residents with collecting garbage from a back porch, carport, or other outside storage location. Wilson also said he wants to ensure workers’ compensation insurance covers the garbage company workers and inspect the company’s books for proper billing practices, which Stover’s research shows is a contract stipulation.