The Jackson City Council will consider a second contract for garbage pickup from FCC Environmental Services during a special meeting today, Aug. 19 at 2:30 p.m.
On Aug. 9, the city council voted down a nearly $11 million contract from FCC that some council members claimed would have raised the monthly rate for trash collection from $20.20 per household to $35 to $40 per household.
The proposed contract would have decreased pickup from twice a week to once a week and provided each household a 96-gallon garbage can that a truck equipped with a lift could empty. The contract would have ensured all employees working on a truck were full-time workers and received benefits, included litter pick up and provided assistance in cleaning up illegal dump sites.
Council members Virgi Lindsay of Ward 7, Brian Grizzell of Ward 4 and Angelique Lee of Ward 2 voted in favor of the contract. Opposed were council members Ashby Foote of Ward 1, Kenneth Stokes of Ward 3, Vernon Hartley of Ward 5, and Aaron Banks of Ward 6.
The city’s contract with Waste Management for garbage collection is set to expire on Sept. 30, which is the end of the 2021 fiscal year.
Residents will see the rate rise for trash pickup because it has not increased in the last 12 years, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said.
The rate is determined in part by the number of households that are served by the contractor. The city passes on that cost to homeowners and collects it as part of customers’ monthly water bills.
Because of problems with the city’s water billing system, the city has had to supplement trash pickup costs since 2016.
About $5 million in Siemens settlement money went to Waste Management to help make up for what the city was unable to collect through the water/sewer billing department, Lumumba said.
Foote said he voted against the proposed contract because he was concerned with the cost per household and the decrease in service to one pickup day a week.
He was skeptical about the need for uniform garbage cans.
“It adds to the cost,” Foote said. “I’m not sure if that’s fair to add another $3 million to the contract.”
Foote said he believes town hall meetings should have been held to give citizens an opportunity to have their say-so.
Council members have known for a year that a new contract for trash pickup was on the horizon, said Lindsay, who serves as council president.
She disputed the $35 to $40 increase that some council members claimed a household’s monthly rate for trash collection would rise.
The city’s Department of Finance and Administration has not proposed an amount that the garbage pickup rate will increase, Lindsay said. “We know we need a rate increase, but we don’t know what it will be,” she said.
The city will need not only a contract for curbside trash pickup but also a contract for landfill use, Lindsay said. The cost of operating the city’s solid waste division will have to be added on top of the costs for curbside pickup and landfill use, she said.
Lindsay said she approved of several features of the contract, including uniform garbage cans that would be provided for all households. The bins would help cut down on litter in the city by ensuring all residents have a secure container for trash, she said.
The contract would have also provided recycling drop-off centers throughout the city and would have included a team to help deal with illegal dump sites in the city, she said.
Don Brazil, vice president of operations for FCC, said 83 jobs were budgeted for the contract and trucks equipped with GPS and technology to tip garbage bins had been secured.
FCC also has a purchase agreement on property located in Jackson in Ward 5, he said.
Current employees with Waste Management would have the opportunity to work for FCC, Brazil said.
FCC was one of three companies that submitted proposals through the request for proposals process. Waste Management also submitted a proposal. FCC was chosen by an evaluation committee on a near-unanimous vote, and the proposal was taken to the council by the mayor.
Based in The Woodlands, Texas, FCC has more than 30 contracts with public entities in the United States. It operates facilities in Texas, Nebraska and Florida.