City, county choose Waste Management

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 19, 2000

After turning down all local alternatives for waste disposal, Vicksburg and Warren County officials awarded contracts Monday to a national company but left an option for operation of a local landfill.

The 10-year agreement between the two local governing bodies and Waste Management of Mississippi Inc. was approved 4-1 by the Warren County Board of Supervisors and unanimously by Vicksburg’s elected officials.

Provisions of the deal allow Waste Management to truck household garbage to its facility in either Monroe or Natchez. Another provision allows use of a landfill in Warren County, but only with renegotiated approval from the local governments.

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Although previous requests for proposals on handling local waste had specified that garbage be disposed of outside of the county, District 5 Supervisor Richard George, who is board president, said it would have been illegal for the contract to include that stipulation.

“We already have a 10-acre site here in Warren County,” George said. “And we can’t tell them what they can or cannot do with it.”

That 10-acre site is on property off Jeff Davis Road owned by W.T. “Billy” Ewell. Under the name Warren County Waste Disposal Inc., Ewell and his partners, attorney Kelly Loyacono and developer Pete Buford, had competed for the contract, offering a 10-year agreement at a rate of $27 per ton.

Loyacono said that although the deal does leave open the possibility to dispose of waste in the county, that county officials are not likely to allow garbage to go to the Ewell site.

In addition to requiring permission from the city and the county to use a local landfill, Waste Management would have to renegotiate the price. In the event that a new price cannot be negotiated the agreement can be terminated by either the city or the county.

“They’ve got a hammer to hold over Waste Management’s head (if the company tries to dispose of waste at the Ewell facility),” Loyacono said, adding his group would follow through a pledge to seek a legal solution if they were locked out of doing business locally.

“I just don’t see any other way around it,” Loyacono said.

In addition to the site in the south part of the county, the contract also opens the door to other local options including a composting facility proposed by Memphis-based Real Earth United States Enterprise and a landfill proposed along U.S. 61 North.

Local businessmen seeking to build the Chickasaw Bluffs Landfill about two miles north of the Culkin Road overpass have been granted a public hearing by the county, but no date has been set.

The only official to vote against the agreement with Waste Management was District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon.

“My concern is that we didn’t take the lowest and best bid,” Selmon said.

For nearly 10 years, all residential garbage in the city has been collected by Waste Management Inc., under a separate contract and taken to a transfer station on U.S. 61 South. BFI has then taken the waste out of the county to the Little Dixie Landfill in Jackson.

The agreement with Waste Management to take over BFI’s portion of the process in June specifies a price of $31.50 per ton for the first two years with an increase every two years thereafter based on the consumer price index.

“In 10 years’ time, we’re going to be paying less than we are now,” said District 4 Supervisor Bill Lauderdale.

Each increase will be capped at 3 percent. At the end of the 10-year period, the maximum price would be $35.45 per ton.

BFI charges the city and independent haulers who collect county residential garbage a rate of $35.76 per ton. BFI had submitted a proposal to continue that operation at a rate of $33.87 per ton for five years with no inflation clause.

South Ward Alderman Sam Habeeb said he hopes the savings will be passed along to city residents who pay $11.25 per month for curbside pickup two days per week.

“Based on my record, no one should be surprised that I would support that,” Habeeb said.

Mayor Robert Walker said the city is already looking at passing the savings to city taxpayers.

“It should reflect in it, but that won’t come into effect until the new contract begins,” Walker said.

Other alternatives considered for the city and county’s waste disposal were from the City of Canton, Earth Recycling and Disposal Inc., of Tallulah and Twin Bridges Co., Inc., of Alexandria.

Along with the proposal from Warren County Waste Disposal, the proposed rate of $28.50 from Earth Friends was lower than Waste Management when the request for proposals was taken three months ago. The proposal from Twin Bridges was $33.48 per ton and Canton had offered the use of that city’s landfill for $19 per ton. That offer did not include the cost of transportation to the site.

In other matters the board of supervisors:

Approved a new road name, Vera Drive, off Gibson Road.

Approved two driveway permits.

Accepted a record plat on the new Stonegate Subdivision.

Accepted the district attorney’s report for the month of November for information.

Took bids for lawn maintenance service and weed control under advisement.

Supervisors will meet again at 9 a.m., Jan. 2, at the Warren County Courthouse.