JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The garbage collection saga in the City of Jackson continues after the contract with Richard’s Disposal expired over the weekend.
Richard’s Disposal had operated in the capital city on an emergency contract for the past year. The quarrel between Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba and the Jackson City Council over garbage collection has been an ongoing issue.
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.
On Saturday, April 1, during a special meeting, 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.
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.
It is the mayor’s job to present any contracts to the City Council, and it’s the Council’s job to vote yay or nay on each contract presented. A total of four votes is needed to move forward with a decision.
Councilman Kenneth Stokes, Ward 3, said he and other members of the Council want to vote the right way to avoid any issues.
“I don’t think nobody is absolutely opposed to them. I think the concern is that nobody wants to go to the penitentiary. That’s what I think. Nobody wants to go to the penitentiary. They don’t want to take an illegal vote. At the end, they end up in the penitentiary. I think that’s what some of these council members are thinking about,” said Stokes.
Councilman Aaron Banks, Ward 6, proposed a 90-day temporary contract with Richard’s until the city finds a permanent vendor.
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.”
If a contract vendor is voted down twice within one year, the mayor must present another contract or vendor.
“We can’t just serve stuff down to citizens’ throats. ‘Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap.’ Will we have to say good service? Good service, good service. Part of reasons why we see potholes. And then, you know, after they fill a pothole, that potholes back out there. Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap material,” said Banks.