JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Deshun Martin, an attorney for the Jackson City Council, said the council will file a petition with the Mississippi Supreme Court for an emergency hearing on the garbage contract.
“The Council is pursuing a legal pathway through Special Chancellor David Clark, appointed by the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court to resolve the current garbage issue. The Council is seeking a Declaratory Judgement to negotiate with Vendors 2 and 3 to provide garbage collection services under a legal and valid contract. Further details on these efforts will be forthcoming,” said City Council President Ashby Foote, Ward 1.
The City of Jackson is currently without a garbage collection service with no known potential RFP candidates.
On Saturday during a special meeting, Foote announced the verdict of the Richard’s Disposal six-year contract failed in a 3-3 vote with one person abstaining. The emergency contract with Richard’s Disposal ended on March 31.
Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said the city can’t handle the financial obligations that the other companies are requiring. The other companies that were being considered are Waste Management and FCC.
The battle over a garbage contract has been going on for about a year and a half, according to Foote.
In early March, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld a ruling of a lower court that sided with the Jackson City Council in the garbage contract case.
According to the ruling by the Supreme Court, Lumumba was not legally entitled to veto a non-action or negative vote of the City Council. They affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
In July 2022, Retired Court of Appeals Judge Larry E. Roberts, who was appointed as the special judge in the case, sided with the Jackson City Council.
Roberts said the mayor does not have the power to veto an “inaction” by the city council. In April 2022, the city council voted 4-3 against the approval of the emergency contract for Richard’s Disposal.
Mayor Lumumba exercised his veto power after that decision, but council members claimed the mayor did not have veto power to override their decision.
Councilman Aaron Banks, Ward 6, was one of the no votes during the special meeting on Saturday. He proposed a temporary solution to the garbage issue.
“Sadly, we are in a predicament that could have been avoided. Understanding that time is of essence, I want to offer a temporary fix or working solution for an unnecessary complex problem. To build back trust, restore integrity and repair relationships, I propose and would support a 90-day temporary contract with Richard’s, while the City Council and the Mayor in good faith, work together to identify a neutral third-party evaluator, who will conduct a new RFP process for twice a week without a cart option, in hopes of finding the vendor that scores the best in the area of lowest and best bid,” said Banks.
Lumumba said, “Based on the responses received from the proposers and the current economic environment, issuing a new RFP will only result in more costly proposals whose increased cost will be borne by the City’s residents.”
Councilman Kenneth Stokes, Ward 3, announced he will hold a town hall meeting on Tuesday, April 4 at 6:00 p.m. at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Jackson. Stokes said neighbors can ask questions about garbage. He said lawmakers will also discuss House Bill 1020.