JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – On Friday, Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba declared a local emergency, saying negotiations for an upcoming garbage collection contract have broken down.
According to the mayor, the city’s garbage contract is set to expire September 30. He said negotiations with the current provider, Waste Management, have been unsuccessful.
Lumumba said without a contract in place, the city will have no means to collect garbage starting October 1.
“Negotiations with Waste Management have hit a snag as the company attempts to strongarm the City into a lengthy contract,” the mayor said. “When it comes to the future of garbage collection in Jackson, we are at a point where accepting the status quo is not only unsustainable, it is irresponsible.”
The mayor said failure to collect and dispose of garbage could lead to civil penalties of up to $25,000 a day for the city and other legal action by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
If an agreement cannot be reached, Lumumba said they intend to pursue a separate contract for garbage collection until a new contract is legally procured. The emergency order will be brought before the Jackson City Council at its next meeting.
Leaders with Waste Management released the following statement to 12 News about the local emergency declaration.
Waste Management wants to make it clear that there is no state of emergency with regards to trash collection in Jackson, as we are still operating under our current contract and performing all regular collection operations. Mayor Lumumba’s claim that the city has been ‘strong-armed’ in negotiations over the solid waste collection contract was disheartening to hear, as we have always acted in good faith in our efforts to reach an agreement that complies with the RFP while also providing a competitive fee for services to the City.
We value our customers and take pride in providing exceptional services to the City of Jackson, as we have for many years.
Waste Management stands ready to work with the City to enter a contract that is favorable and provides a beneficial relationship to both parties for years to come.Tricia Farace, Waste Management Communications Manager
In August, the Jackson City Council decided to continue a contract with Waste Management. That same month the City Council also voted down a proposal from Lumumba to enter into a contract with FCC Environmental Services. The proposal was reviewed again at a later date and voted down again.