City of Vicksburg approves solid waste amendments; sets garbage fees

Published 1:12 pm Friday, August 25, 2023

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved amendments to the city’s solid waste ordinances Friday, outlining solid waste regulations and the colors of city-supplied garbage cans and an amendment to the city’s contract with Waste Management outlining solid waste collection.

According to one solid waste amendment, residences and small businesses outside the downtown area will pay a fee of $16.50 per month for twice-weekly garbage collection.

Residential customers can add an additional can for $25.50 per month, meaning a residential customer could pay up to $42 a month for garbage collection. The previous fee was $16.95 per can. Residential cans will be green and have the city logo; the additional garbage can will be brown.

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Small commercial businesses outside the downtown area will use the same cans as residential customers and may request up to three additional cans at $25.50 each per month.

Commercial businesses in the downtown area will pay a monthly $40.15 fee for garbage collection four times a week and can have up to four cans at $40.15 each per month.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said at the beginning of the board’s Friday meeting that the city will begin a program to inform residents of the changes using social media, mailouts, newspaper and other media.

“We’re going to do a PSA announcement and everything and we’re putting in every bit,” he said. “Now, in the next two weeks, we ought to have in everybody’s ear an understanding of the track. I’m absolutely emphatically convinced that we can do this in Vicksburg.”

The board in June approved its new contract for garbage collection with Waste Management that featured some major increases in fees over the previous contract, including a cost to collect yard debris and other items too large to fit in city-issued garbage cans.

According to information from the city’s accounting department, the city paid Waste Management $149,508.49 for trash collection in June, which was the last bill under the previous contract.

It paid the company $209,355.90 for trash collection in July, when the city’s new contract went into effect — a difference of $59,847.41.

Flaggs said in a Thursday interview that the $16.50 fee may be the final individual garbage fee or may be subject to change. The amount, he said, won’t be set until city officials have a correct inventory of city garbage cans.

“Right now, we’re trying to reconcile between the number of cans we’re billing for and the number of cans they’re collecting,” he said. “Waste Management is saying that they are collecting X-number of cans and we’re saying we’re only billing for X-number of cans. Somewhere, we’ve got to net zero that.”

Flaggs at a June board meeting said some residents were using more than one can to hold garbage. The board at its Monday meeting released a policy allowing residential customers to have up to two city-issued cans — one green and one brown— and added that Waste Management would only collect garbage from the city-marked cans.

“All the containers under this administration will be logged in at Water and Gas and they will be delivered by Vicksburg Community Service,” Flaggs said Monday. “We believe that when we adopt this policy we ought to be in good shape and we’re only waiting on the brown cans; there’s no need to put out all the cans until we get all the cans.”

He said once the new cans arrive, they would be distributed and the old cans collected.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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