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Waste Pro still having issues; county fed up with trash problems

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors may be ready to toss out Waste Pro for the poor service they say the company is providing.

Supervisors met with representatives of the garbage company again Monday. In past meetings to discuss the company’s less than stellar performance, division manager Marvin Kelch and site manager John Gibson have addressed the board’s concerns. This time, Gibson returned along with Kelch’s supervisor, Doug Atkin.

Atkin listened to various board members stress once again their disapproval of Waste Pro’s performance in recent months.

“I’m ready to take bids for another waste service,” District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown said.

Supervisors began naming entire roads and communities in Lincoln County with residents who had repeatedly been missed for service.

“Something’s gone wrong,” said Board President Bobby Watts, supervisor of District 2. “The garbage has got to go and something has got to be done.”

Board members stressed the failure of Waste Pro employees to return phone calls in a timely manner. Atkin said he would provide them with his phone number so that he could personally address any issues. “I’ll call you back within two hours and tell you it’s been picked up,” Atkin said.

“The biggest problem,” interjected Tax Assessor Blake Pickering, “is the frequency with which we’re having whole sections of the county missed.”

Calls consistently come to Pickering’s office, he said, since people are paying fees to have garbage picked up and it isn’t happening. “We need to cut down on problems,” Pickering said. “They’re questioning our ability to manage our contractors.”

“The first year or two, things were going extremely well,” added Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop. “I know you know what the problem is. We don’t know, but you need to take care of it. You know you’re going to lose business over this, right?”

Atkin responded that the majority of problems they are facing are in management changes. “It’s on us,” he said. “This obviously isn’t working. We’ll go back to the drawing board.”

“I’ll be honest with you,” Bishop said. “We’re looking at the (original) contract. We want it to work from here on. Our attorney is looking at it. If there’s an out, there’s our out. But we’d rather it work.”

After Atkin and Gibson left, District 5 Supervisor Doug Falvey reminded the board that if they were to change companies, the new company would end up hiring the same employees Waste Pro is already using.

In other business:

• The board approved Pickering’s request for the cost of accommodations to be covered for Deputy Assessor Patty White’s upcoming recertification seminar.

• Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey reported that although Brookhaven and Lincoln County have met the criteria to receive federal aid following the damage suffered from recent storms, the state of Mississippi has not yet met its criteria. If the state’s total uninsured damage reaches $4.2 million, Galey said, FEMA will then provide assistance. If the state does not meet that criteria, neither the county nor city will receive FEMA assistance.

• The board approved Galey’s request for travel expenses to be covered for his upcoming conference May 30-June 1.

• The board approved a request from James Laird to plant a tree on the grounds of the county’s government complex to honor organ transplant donors and recipients and their families in Lincoln County. The installation and dedication will take place May 11 at 11 a.m.

• The board heard representatives from Pearl River Basin give a report on water levels and the future of the PRB board. The PRB board will meet April 27 to determine whether the agency will begin a formal shut down in the first quarter of 2018 because of the lack of funding. The Bogue Chitto Water Park could face closure depending on the outcome of the meeting.

• The board was informed by Lynette Smith of Southwest Planning that a grant from the Home Investment Partnership Program — through Mississippi Home Corporation — was awarded to the county in the amount of $355,000. The money will be used to rehabilitate seven homes and replace one mobile home in the Brookhaven area. Homes and owners who meet certain criteria will qualify. Southwest Planning will facilitate the application of the grant.

• Bids were opened for repairs on Bogue Chitto Road and a District 5 paving project. Three bids were submitted for the Bogue Chitto Road project. Pandle Inc., of Pascagoula, submitted the low bid, in the amount of $348,944.10, and the bid was accepted.  One bid was submitted for the District 5 project. The board chose to take it under advisement, and not take further action at that time.

• The board approved payment of a lease for a voting booth on Old Red Star Road in the amount of $150, and for the interstate lighting bill in the amount of $503.21.

• The board entered a short executive session for industrial development. No action was taken when they returned.