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March 2, 2018 10:29:50 AM
Golden Triangle Waste Services board members from Lowndes and Webster counties are asking Oktibbeha County supervisors to meet with them before deciding to contract with a new waste service provider.
In a letter, which was delivered to supervisors on Wednesday, the waste services board outlines several points of contention with supervisors' efforts to shift to a new waste service provider. The letter also says it would be "unfair" for Oktibbeha County to move to another provider without first meeting with its board.
Supervisors reviewed bids from Arrow Disposal Services, WastePro and Waste Management at their Feb. 19 meeting but delayed a decision until March.
The letter contends that Golden Triangle Waste Services charges the county $8.12 per household per month for garbage collection, which is lower than any of the bids supervisors received from the other three companies.
Arrow's bid is $9.22 per month per household for weekly pickup and $1,800 per month for recycling service in the county.
Waste Management's bid calls for $13.64 per household per month for weekly trash pickup.
WastePro's bid is $13.72 per household per month for weekly pickup and $1,800 per month per haul for recycling service to the county.
Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisor President Orlando Trainer said while Golden Triangle Waste Services may be cheaper, the other companies the county is considering are offering to do more.
"It's deceptive to say that they're cheaper," Trainer said. "You have to compare apples to apples. Just on face value, those other companies are looking to provide things that Golden Triangle Waste Services does not provide according to the current contract. I'm not saying they can't, but they don't right now, according to the contract."
District 1 Supervisor John Montgomery noted trash pickup costs county residents about $13 per month, though that includes fees for billing through the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District and landfill fees.
Supervisors decided at the Feb. 19 meeting to hold a decision on waste services until after their March 6 meeting, because Trainer and District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller will be absent to attend a conference.
Plus, board attorney Jack Brown passed on Saturday, which may complicate the board's decision process.
Trainer said supervisors haven't yet discussed how to move forward with selecting an attorney, but he feels it would be "unwise" for the board to proceed for too long without legal guidance.
Garbage can replacements
Golden Triangle Waste Services' letter also contends garbage can replacement, which has been a sore issue for several Oktibbeha County supervisors, is not a requirement of the contract.
"As you are aware, each household is entitled to one cart at no cost; however, any additional or replacement cart shall be paid for by the resident, according to the contract signed by the Oktibbeha County Supervisors," the letter says. "The contract does not state, in any terms whatsoever, that it is the responsibility of Golden Triangle to provide or replace additional carts."
The letter goes on to note that Oktibbeha County "representatives" have been taking cans to deliver to residents "without any accountability or process by which to determine where the carts are being delivered or who should be billed for the carts." It also says some of those cans were intended for Webster County residents.
"That is one of the caveats of the services that they provide or don't provide," Montgomery said. "All three of the services we quoted included delivering the cans, maintenance of the cans and servicing the cans as needed, whereas now it falls on the lap of the supervisors.
"I don't mind it myself," he added. "I wouldn't say it's enjoyable, but at the same time I'm not going to let someone who pays that $13 per month in my district go without a can, even if I have to pick up the slack myself."
The letter says that the Waste Services board recently proposed to allot funds to Oktibbeha County for the purchase of its own garbage cans, which would allow the county to keep cans available on-site.
Supervisors willing to talk
The letter argues that the two Oktibbeha County supervisors who are on the board -- Montgomery and District 5's Joe Williams -- have not attended recent meetings, which has hindered communication efforts.
Montgomery said he hadn't been to meetings due to "a lack of mutual respect" and family medical issues. Williams declined to comment, saying only that he is open to considering the meeting with "an open mind."
Still, Montgomery said he's open to talking, but would prefer Golden Triangle Waste Service board members come before the board of supervisors.
"Instead of just myself and Supervisor Williams, they need to come before our board and explain their stance, and we can give them our view as a board," Montgomery said. "Not just as two supervisors, honestly, getting picked on in some of those meetings."
Trainer added that some things "behind the scenes" have contributed to the decay in relations between the waste service and county supervisors.
Even so, Trainer said Golden Triangle Waste Services has generally performed well, but that won't necessarily prevent supervisors from selecting a new provider.
"Golden Triangle has been providing the service over the last 20 years, and I can say they've done that to the best of their abilities based on what was agreed upon," Trainer said. "Expectations have risen among the board. We're trying to find a greater level of service with less communication issues."
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