JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – In the midst of Jackson’s lengthy garbage dispute, Councilman Kenneth Stokes, Ward 3, held a town hall aimed at giving residents a chance to voice their concerns.
Stokes invited the attorney for the Jackson City Council to speak to neighbors about the latest on the garbage collection in the capital city.
“I charge $675 an hour. The City of Jackson, I gave them a discount. They pay me $325. This kind of money should not be going to lawyers when there are dire needs for our city,” said Attorney Deshun Martin.
Everyone was welcome to attend the meeting, but Stokes did not expect Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba to show up and share his side of the dispute. There was tension between Lumumba and Martin.
“If you want to know, ‘Mayor, why won’t you just go to the next vendor? Why won’t you just go to the next vendor?’ One, it’s in breach of our contact, and two, it is going to cost you more,” Lumumba stated.
Residents are fed up with the back and forth between city leaders. They said they just want their garbage picked up.
“I hope they come to a vendor that’s going to take care of the vendor at a price, so it won’t cost the taxpayers an arm and a leg because they’re suffering now,” said Howard Derrick, who lives in Jackson.
Richard’s Disposal was the cheapest vendor for twice-a-week pickup with a cart, and Waste Management was the cheapest for twice a week pickup without a cart.
Stokes abstained during Saturday’s vote on a six-year contract with Richard’s Disposal. He said he’s not against the company specifically, but he’s against having carts.
“What Richard’s people don’t understand, if they start with these garbage cans, how long is it going to be before those people are going to be without a job? You see it all over the country. When they have those garbage cans, sooner or later they’re going to have those electric trucks that will pick up that can and empty it,” Stokes explained.
City leaders are still scrambling to find short and long-term solutions for garbage collection.