JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Friday, Waste Management collected trash in the City of Jackson the day after a contract was extended for six months with the city.
Jackson City Councilman Kenneth Stokes abstained from the vote on Thursday. He said his vote was for the poor people in Jackson, who will have to choose between basic needs and paying bills once the sanitation bill is raised to $15.
Stokes said the upcoming raise in sanitation is a joke. He said someone must fight for poor people in the city.
“I’m concerned because we’re moving from $10.56 to $15. I know to the people with a lot of money. That’s not a lot of money to them, but for poor people, that’s the difference between getting something to eat and getting medicine,” he stated.
Stokes said he was the only member to abstain from Thursday’s resolution vote on garbage collection. He said the sanitation bill is linked to water bills, something Jackson neighbors are already struggling to pay.
“Poor people as a whole, they’re concerned because they realize that they can not afford an increase in their water bill. So, how do you ensure that citizens who can not pay these high water bills will have water? If there’s got to be an increase on the water bill, why not $11, why not $11.50, why $15? This is a six-month contract. Now, you’re going to have other bidders start at $15 and go up to $20. We can not increase the sanitation fee.”
He said in six months when the contract with Waste Management is up, the city will be right back where it started.
“I think it’s absolutely wrong, and it’s absolutely stupid. I don’t think we should play games with the garbage contract, because we need waste in this city to be picked up. I think the key problem is that people are trying to play politics and that they’re trying to get money under the table and that’s absolutely wrong,” Stokes said.
According to the councilman, many people in his ward have already called him about their concerns with the price increase.
He told us he has voiced his concerns to City Council before on this issue. He said it will be on the agenda to talk about it again at the next City Council meeting.