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Natchez trash collection could reduce to once a week
from Staff Reports - NEWS
December 20, 2017 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – Natchez residents could see their garbage pickups reduced to once a week when the city board approves a new contract next spring with a trash collector that will continue to give people the option to separate their recyclables.

Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell and city aldermen Tuesday held a public forum, where residents said they will accept losing their twice-a-week pickup service Natchez has had for many years but still want to separate their recyclable trash to be collected.

Having residential waste collection reduced to once a week will restrain costs, Alderman Sarah Carter Smith said, who’s chairing the city board’s efforts to develop how the city will have its trash picked up. She also noted less frequent pickups will lessen the wear and tear on city streets that garbage trucks cause.

The garbage collection charge currently on Natchez residents’ monthly bill is $13.74. This is for twice-a-week garbage and once-a-week recyclable pickups. This rate also includes a $1 charge for mosquito control.

Future changes in garbage collection discussed Tuesday also included pickups specifically of yard rubbish and household hazardous waste on a more routine basis.

The Board of Aldermen is expected to decide in March or April who the city’s next trash collector will be and what changes are forthcoming, said city attorney Bob Latham.

Tuesday’s meeting enabled Natchez residents to get an understanding of the decisions facing city officials and to provide them input as the mayor and aldermen decide who the next private trash collector will be.

Waste Pro continues making its Natchez garbage runs, as it has for the past five years, while city officials draw up requests for proposals from other waste collectors. However, Waste Pro stopped picking up recyclable trash last month.

The Board of Aldermen in September voted to end the contract with the Florida-based company in November, but city officials failed to solicit other bidders. This left Natchez facing the prospect of having no garbage collection service.

Smith acknowledged such "bumps and hiccups" in the city's garbage collection service has caused "a lot of frustrations and a lot of fear" among the public.

Waste Pro and city officials last month negotiated an emergency short-term contract to last up to six months while the mayor and aldermen seek competitors and hammer out a deal with the best waste collector. This interim arrangement is in place "so that we do have time to do it correctly," Smith said. "We hope to do better."

The new short-term contract with Waste Pro retains the same rate that each Natchez household has been paying. However -- to hold down expenses and preserve the same charge -- Waste Pro insisted it must discontinue picking up recyclable trash.

The city has been paying Waste Pro more than $900,000 a year to pick up garbage for about 5,500 households. Waste Pro began in 2013 collecting recyclable trash, the first time Natchez has ever had this curbside pickup service. Waste Pro also provided each household one receptacle with wheels for general trash and one bin for recyclables. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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