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No solution yet: Jackson Mayor provides...

No solution yet: Jackson Mayor provides update on garbage situation

By: Sarah Ulmer - April 6, 2023

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, center, sits with staff as he watches lawmakers debate House Bill 1020, which would create a separate court system in the Capitol Complex Improvement District, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis - Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Lumumba said another emergency meeting will be called on Monday for city council members to once again consider the Richard’s Disposal contract.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba held a press conference on Thursday to update residents on the progress in restoring garbage pickup in the city. There was little to share since no agreement has been reached between the Mayor and city council.

Residents are expected to be without garbage pickup for up to 50 days if the city embarks on a new RFP process to find a vendor.

Lumumba has maintained his position that the best path forward is to reinstate the contract with Richard’s Disposal. The contract has been at the center of several court battles between the Mayor and City Council based on how it was awarded.

He said Richard’s is the only company with vehicles, staff, and the capacity to execute garbage pick-up on an immediate basis.

“I know that the residents are suffering and that we are in a very difficult space,” said Lumumba at Thursday’s press conference. “I want you to know we are working hard to find an end to this situation.”

One of the biggest questions residents have asked, outside of getting their trash picked up, is if they should continue paying for garbage service when it is not being provided. Lumumba said they are researching now a way to apply the credit to residents’ bills.

Mayor Lumumba said earlier this week he reached out to the three city council members who voted against the Richard’s Disposal contract in a special meeting on Saturday. According to Lumumba, Councilman Ashby Foote declined the invitation to meet, Councilman Vernon Hartley did not respond and Councilman Aaron Banks did originally agree to meet but then did not.

RELATED: Jackson expected to be without garbage pick-up for at least 50 days

Councilman Foote said the three asked to meet with the mayor collectively later that week but he declined. Lumumba said he declined based on counsel from city attorneys. With all four meeting at the same time, it could violate the state’s public meetings law because it was nearly a quorum.

The city council has voted down the Richard’s Disposal contract three times.

Members who have voted against the Richard’s contract say it violates the law. They maintain that Richard’s did not provide the lowest and best contract for a twice a week, no can garbage contract. Despite the no vote, the Mayor went on to award the contract and vetoed the “No” vote by the council, a move that has been deemed unlawful by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

“From the very beginning, this is not personal, this is professional. This is about abiding by the laws so we can get the best services for Jacksonians,” said Councilman Hartley on a local radio show. “City council is not in a fight; it is simply doing its job by the law.”

Councilman Vernon Hartley
Councilman Vernon Hartley, photo courtesy of the City of Jackson

Hartley said the council’s actions have been advised by legal counsel and judges in order to keep them in line with the law.

Hartley has a history of working in waste management with multiple counties across the state. He said it was his professional opinion not to award the contract to Richard’s. He believes the push for Richard’s on the mayor’s part was due to favoritism.

Another emergency city council meeting will be set for Monday.

In the meantime, residents can drop off household trash on upcoming dumpster days. This was the result of conversations with the city’s solid waste division and public works department.

Garbage drop off will be available at the following locations over the next three days:

  • Old Dillard’s, Metro Center Mall
    • Thursday and Friday
    • 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
  • The City Landfill
    • Saturday
    • 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

UPDATE: Four additional locations have been added for dumpster drop-off in Ward 1 starting on Thursday

  • Old Tisdale Libary Parking Lot; 807 E. Northside Drive
    • 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m
  • Virginia College Parking Lot; 5941 Ridgewood Road
    • 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m
  • Christ United Methodist Church
    • 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m
  • Colonial Mart
    • 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Residents should only bring household trash that is in a tied, contractor grade garbage bag. Bulky items, tires, or hazardous material will not be accepted.

“This is an imperfect solution,” said Lumumba. “But this is our effort to mitigate the challenge we find our self in.”

Magnolia Tribune will continue to provide updates as changes are made regarding trash pick up in the capital city.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: