JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Members of the Jackson City Council will have the chance Tuesday to tell the mayor whether they want a contractor to pick up trash once a week or twice a week.
Tuesday, the administration will be asking members to vote on a non-binding resolution to negotiate one of four proposals for residential collection services.
Options into two proposals for once-a-week pickup, including one that would require residents to have a special garbage can, and two proposals for twice-a-week pickup, also including one that would require a special garbage can.
If the mayor accepts the recommendation, he will negotiate with the vendor that received the highest score for that proposal before taking a final contract back to the council for consideration, said City Attorney Catoria Martin.
“The mayor is essentially compromising and asking them to give a recommendation on which option they prefer,” Martin said. “The council… has made it very clear to us they wanted to participate in the process. The mayor decided he was willing to allow them to participate at this point.”
Mayor Chowke Antar Lumumba’s decision comes months after the council twice rejected a proposal to hire FCC Environmental Services to pick up residential waste. Members voted down the proposal, in part, because it would have increased costs and reduced collections to once a week.
At the time, some members also said they wanted more transparency in the RFP evaluation process.
RFPs are requests for proposals. Cities issue RFPs for professional services, such as trash hauling. In Jackson, once proposals are submitted, they are evaluated by a committee made up of department officials and mayor’s office representatives, and the winning proposal is taken to the council for consideration.
“Part of the procurement process is you go with the highest-rated vendor,” Martin said. “We can only negotiate with one (firm) and it has to be based on the score.”
“If the council goes with the cheapest option, once a week without a cart, and the mayor accepts the recommendation, we would go into negotiation with the highest score for that option,” she added.
Council members are being provided with the options, as well as the costs for each. They will not be given the names of the vendors. Martin said Lumumba also does not know which proposals are from which vendors.
“The mayor and the evaluation team knows who the three vendors are, but doesn’t know which one goes with which score,” she said. “All they know is are what scores they submitted.”
Three firms responded to the city’s RFP, which was issued in October: FCC Environmental, Waste Management of Mississippi, and Richard’s Disposal. “We had three proposals but all three had four options,” Martin said.
The best prices for each option are shown below:
Several council members say they want to continue twice-a-week services, but still have questions for the mayor next week.
Ward 2 Councilwoman Angelique Lee said many residents in her ward want to continue with twice-a-week services, but do not want to be required to have a special garbage can.
“They are worried about being 96 gallons and seniors being able to get it to the curb,” she said.
Ward Six Councilman Aaron Banks also is concerned about requiring residents to have a special can. He questions why the costs for twice-a-week pickup without a can is more expensive than twice-a-week with a required can.
The twice-a-week option without a cart is also more expensive than the current emergency contract Jackson has with Waste Management, which costs $808,035 a month, Martin said.
Jackson entered into the six-month contract in late September after talks to enter into a long-term contract broke down. The city’s previous contract was also with Waste Management and has been in place for more than a decade.
The current emergency agreement runs out at the end of March.
The next contract also could dictate how much Jackson will have to increase its monthly garbage rates.
Council members voted down a proposal to increase rates to $35 a month in December, in part, because members did not know how much a new contract would cost.
Administration officials brought forward the proposed rate increase, saying the city’s Solid Waste Division was slated to run out of money by the spring.
The council meets on Tuesday, January 11 at 10 a.m.
Copyright 2022 WLBT. All rights reserved.