City may hike cost of garbage pickup

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

[09/11/02]Vicksburg officials are considering a plan that will raise the cost of curbside waste collection by $1.55 per month to $12.60.

The Mayor and Aldermen voted Tuesday to begin negotiations with Waste Management Inc. for a new contract to pick up household waste at city homes. The current deal with Waste Management expires Oct. 31.

Along with the new, 96-gallon containers that will be distributed to households, city officials say residents will no longer have to place household garbage out for collection on days other than for yard clippings and limbs. Both will be picked up on the same days when the new contract and the new rates begin on Nov. 1.

“People will be paying for an enhanced service that will no longer be subsidized from the city’s general fund,” said Mayor Laurence Leyens of the proposed rate increase.

After Vicksburg first contracted out garbage collection in the 1980s, there was no household leaf and limb collection. City crews and equipment were added for that purpose about 10 years ago. Now, they will be eliminated as the private firm takes over that responsibility, too.

Strategic planner Paul Rogers said the city will use the $700,000 in departments such as the community service and to fund additional ambulance service. With the rate increase, waste collection will be paid for entirely by customers with no general fund subsidy.

“We know we’re going to get a lot of phone calls, especially from our elderly who say they can’t afford anymore,” said North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young. But, “We have no choice.”

The last rate increase was in August 1999 when the monthly charge went from $7.25 to $11.05.

The charge is on residents’ water, gas and sewer bills, and Leyens said ending the supplement was a responsible move.

“Garbage is now being paid for in real terms and I think that’s important,” he said.

Last month, the city entered a contract to buy 10,000 wheeled, 96-gallon containers for about $380,000. The heavy plastic containers will be distributed around Nov. 1 with no separate charge to customers unless more than one is needed or one is destroyed.

Haulers will no longer pick up garbage not in the designated containers, but smaller containers will be available for the elderly or disabled. Apartment complexes and commercial firms contract separately for garbage hauling.

Leyens has said there could be a water rate hike in the future, but said city officials are working on a plan to install six new water wells without increasing fees.

In other matters the city board:

Approved a lease agreement for a fire truck acquired in 2001.

Received one bid for 11 additional mounted cameras for police cars at a rate of $3,253 per car.

Rejected bids for a six-month contract on demolition and site clearing of dilapidated structures in the city.

Executed an agreement with Neel-Schaffer Inc., of Jackson to study lighting improvements along Clay Street the Vicksburg National Military Park.

The board will meet again at 10 a.m. Monday at City Hall Annex.