PETAL, Miss. (WHLT) – The Petal Board of Aldermen approved a contract with a company that will take over the responsibilities of the Public Works Department starting on October 1.

Pine Belt News reported the city began negotiations with ClearWater Solutions in August. The Auburn, Alabama company will take over the city’s Public Works Department the same way the city voted to privatize its trash pickup with WastePro.

Mayor Tony Ducker said the reason for wanting to privatize the department isn’t to save money, but to help the city get more done with the money it does spend.

He said one of the reasons for wanting to privatize is because it would take pressure off the city having to pay health insurance rates. Privatizing would also mean that employees would be paid more. He added that current department employees would have first dibs on the new jobs. However, he said the city will need to keep some positions.

Between now and the start of the contract, he said the company will be evaluating the city’s personnel and “talking money.”

Steve Womack, a client manager for the company, said ClearWater Solutions already serves Gautier, Moss Point and Horn Lake.

Public Works Department Director Mike Trest said the the company will help the department catch up before it takes on all of the department’s responsibilities.