Waste Management to Lumumba: ‘Follow... state law’

According to city officials, Waste Management is increasing its costs by 3%.
According to city officials, Waste Management is increasing its costs by 3%.(WDAM)
Published: Sep. 21, 2021 at 11:48 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Days after Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said talks with Waste Management had broken down, a letter provides more details on why negotiations lagged.

An August 30 letter from Chase Byran, an attorney for the firm, shows that Jackson refused to consider Waste Management’s proposal for a six-year garbage collection contract, despite the fact that the city advertised for proposals for a six-year term as part of a request for proposals (RFP) it issued earlier this year.

The letter also states that Waste Management was willing to offer a deal for garbage service at roughly $13 a month per household. It was unknown if that amount also included costs for disposing of the trash at the landfill.

(A proposal recommended by the mayor would have increased costs to $35 to $40 a month and reduced weekly collections to once a week.)

The administration entered talks with Waste Management in August after the council twice voted down bringing on FCC Environmental Services, the firm the mayor was backing.

Lumumba declared a state of emergency last week, saying that talks with Waste Management had broken down and that Waste Management was attempting to “strong-arm” the city into accepting a “lengthy contract.”

An attorney for Waste Management, though, says that the city was required to consider a six-year proposal, based on the wording of its RFP.

Under the RFP, the city was seeking options for once-a-week and twice-a-week pickups. The RFP was advertising for six years, according to Bryan’s letter.

“After the city council voted down the proposal to make FCC the provider... the mayor held two meetings with Waste Management. However, instead of entertaining a six-year contract such as the one the mayor recommended with FCC, the mayor insisted that Waste Management provide a one-year proposal,” Bryan wrote. “Waste Management will not provide a one-year proposal, and instead requests the city follow its RFP and state law, and consider Waste Management’s proposal for a six-year contract.”

He goes on to state that the city cannot mandate they provide a one-year proposal, under state law because it was not required in the RFP. Also, he says it would not be economically feasible for the company to do so.

Meanwhile, the letter shows the firm was willing to offer the city additional services if customers would pay an extra $3.70 a month. Those add-ons included a dedicated call center that would be set up in Jackson and would be used exclusively to serve Jackson customers, as well as three additional boom trucks to pick up out-of-compliance bulk and yard waste, which they said would help address illegal dumping.

Two things the mayor touted in the FCC contract were the company’s proposal to set up a local call center and its plans to address illegal dumping.

The city council is meeting Tuesday to discuss garbage collections.

Lumumba was not immediately available for comment.

A full copy of the letter is shown below.

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