‘What settlement?’: As Richard’s Disposal looks forward, one Jackson councilman says nothing is official
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - There are still a lot of questions surrounding the future of trash pickup in the capital city, and the answers to many of those questions vary depending on who you ask.
Residents should find out what trash collection in Jackson will look like in the short term in just a few days.
However, the long-term situation is still very much in the air.
Sunday, the CEO of Richard’s Disposal, Alvin Richard, held a press conference. It comes after more than six months of the company hauling the city’s waste without payment.
So far, Richard said the firm has been able to still pay its employees and its debts, but late last week, the firm did note the financial burden this has caused.
Even still, Richard said Sunday that 70 of his employees live in the city of Jackson, and he has no regrets about bringing the firm over from New Orleans.
“I didn’t have any then. I don’t have any now,” he said.
Nevertheless, the lack of payment led Richard’s to sue the city, and Friday, the city council and the firm agreed to a settlement in that suit.
“We’re glad that we got this temporary settlement, but it’s not over with,” said John Walker, an attorney representing the firm. “People need to understand that this is just a lull in the storm, and litigation is going to be continuing probably.”
As part of this settlement, the council agreed to pay Richard’s nearly 5 million dollars for its work so far and also agreed to keep the firm on at least until the Mississippi Supreme Court rules in a separate lawsuit regarding the mayor’s veto powers.
Walker described all of the disagreements between the city council, the mayor, and the firm itself over the last few months as ‘nonsense’.
“Everything that has gone on since January 18th of this year should not have gone on because, on January 18, Richard’s Disposal should have gotten the six-year contract,” he said.
While the company hopes to finish out the emergency contract and then strike up a better, longer-term contract, Ward 3 Jackson City Councilman Kenneth Stokes is saying, “not so fast.”
That’s because the council still has to vote on the settlement to make things official.
“The majority of the council might vote to pay them through claims. Kenny Stokes is going to keep saying, ‘no,’” Stokes said. “I’ve been saying ‘no’ since the beginning. I’m going to be saying ‘no’ in the end.”
Stokes maintains his stance that Richard’s doesn’t deserve payment because its current contract was never approved by the council.
“All business people understand that you’ve got to have a contract,” he said. “That’s basic business.″
Not everyone on the council agrees with Stokes. In fact, council president Ashby Foote described Friday’s settlement agreement as a “victory for the citizens of Jackson.”
The council is expected to take this issue up on Tuesday.
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