JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Could a new contract be in the works for garbage collection in Jackson? Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba says he wants the best deal for the citizens of Jackson.
He also tells us the City is chipping away at what he calls a “mountain of debt.”
Jackson's mayor says a big chunk of the city's debt comes from the Siemen's contract for water billing and meters.
“The city has a mountain of debt obligations that has now come mature," he said. “Over time, we have finally hit that wall, and so we’ve had exhaustive discussions about the Siemens deal and the debt for the Siemens deal. The Siemens water installations, that is one of the primary costs that the city has.”
Mayor Lumumba applauds the efforts of his team in making the payment of around $7 million on the $90 million bond to fund the Siemens project.
“Through the hard work of our Finance Department, through the hard work of our Public Works Department, we are now confident that we will be able to make that payment," Lumumba said.
"It still does not mean that we have great concern over these expenses, that we don’t have great concerns over the quality and performance of the water metering system and making certain that we pay the debts that the city owes,” he continued.
The mayor also addresses why the city discontinued its recycling program with Waste Management.
“We have to get a recycling program and a contract which is commensurate with the city, commensurate with what’s important to the city, commensurate with what the city can afford," explained Mayor Lumumba.
The city paid Waste Management $96 thousand a month for recycling, equalling $1,152,000 a year. Mayor Lumumba is not ruling out a new garbage collection contract.
“In that, not only will we look at recycling as an option and making it cost beneficial to the community, to make certain that we can do it we’ll look at house count. We’ll make certain we’re paying a fair rate," said the mayor.
Lumumba says he has concerns about the number of people on the back of Waste Management trucks.
Mayor Lumumba said, “I am disappointed that, you know, per the contract, that I don’t see someone, two people on the back of each truck. Not only is that a reflection of the hiring practices and how many people we’re employing in the city, there’s a safety concern.”
He also says the city is focusing a lot of resources and attention to eliminating dumping sites. He says the police department and public works are teaming up to catch violators and to get rid of eye sores.
We received this statement from Waste Management:
Waste Management of Mississippi designs all residential routes to be most importantly safe, while optimizing service and efficiency. The size of each route crew is dependent on several factors.
Waste Management suspended residential recycling services to the City of Jackson in response to the city’s request. Recycling can be resumed with a 30-day notice from the city, to Waste Management of MS. No other negotiations are underway. We look forward to the opportunity to work with the City of Jackson now and into the future.