Tupelo trash contract has no price increase

I'm a journalist focused on government, policy, politics and people.
I find what matters and bird dog it like nobody's business.

By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo residents can expect to continue paying the current fee for trash and recycling pickup services when the City Council signs a new waste disposal contract this month with Waste Management.
City Council members, Mayor Jason Shelton and other city officials have negotiated with Waste Management representatives since the council approved the company in June as the preferred provider to for the service. The existing contract with Waste Management expires this month.
Residential customers have paid the current rate of $15.97 since 2008. Pickup will stay the same with trash collection twice weekly and recycling picked up every two weeks.
The council is expected to vote on the new four-year contract at the July 23 meeting. While the new contract will not impact how much residential customers pay, the city will pay Waste Management $12.44 per residential customer, about a dollar less than currently charged.
However, City Council members who have worked with negotiating on the contract say the additional savings will help cover other sanitation costs.
“There’s more involved to our sanitation fund than just Waste Management,” said Ward 1 Councilman Markel Whittington during a work session Monday. “The Waste Management part is the biggest piece, but it’s not all of the pie.”
Lynn Norris, chief financial office for the city, said the Tupelo’s sanitation fund ran more than a $150,000 deficit in Fiscal Year 2012. Sanitation services include brush pickup, five full-time employees that pick up trash, along with their transportation.
Whittington said the city will evaluate the revenue for the sanitation fund in the coming months to determine whether to purchase more equipment or consider charging less for the service.
robbie.ward@journalinc.com