Brookhaven workers going after missed trash pickups

Published 9:08 pm Wednesday, July 18, 2018

City workers are tackling the stink today.

Brookhaven Public Works Director Keith Lewis told aldermen Tuesday night that trucks would be rolling this morning to empty Waste Pro garbage cans that haven’t been picked up this week or longer.

Mayor Joe Cox met with Lewis and street superintendent Burt Wilson Tuesday to figure out the logistics of city workers picking up garbage if Waste Pro didn’t honor the current contract that expires Sept. 30. Aldermen voted this month to hire Arrow Disposal Service Inc. as the city’s trash collector. The contract begins Oct. 1, but Waste Pro’s service in the past few weeks has not been ideal.

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Cox said Wednesday the city would begin picking up garbage today in the areas that have not been serviced this week.

“We’ve got major issues on North Jackson, Red Oak, White Oak, Brignall area. Mostly on the north side of town,” he said. “We’re going to take all steps necessary to remedy the situation on our part that we can until Waste Pro mobilizes with some more truck and/or some more drivers.”

Cox said Tuesday night that the company appears to have lost some drivers when it didn’t win the contract for the city’s services and may bring drivers from the Coast to help finish up the contract in Brookhaven.

He said he spoke to someone at Waste Pro in upper management who was “very concerned about Brookhaven and they will end this contract with integrity and end it well,” he said.

However, the garbage is overflowing in the company’s big green cans and city attorney Joe Fernald asked aldermen to document the streets that have been missed in their wards this week.

Ward 6 Alderwoman Shelley Harrigill said her trash stinks.

“I’ve not had my trash picked up. It’s two days behind, tomorrow it will be three,” she said at the Tuesday night meeting. “Driving back home from work and to my office, I have not seen a trash can picked up in my ward. Not one. They’re all just sitting there. Wet piles. Gross. I’m turning it all in because I don’t know what to do.”

Cox said the company official he spoke to was concerned about Waste Pro’s reputation and service in Brookhaven and Lincoln County.

“In the event the cavalry comes rolling in like he is alluding to, we will back off, but at this point, that is our plan — to get it started then hopefully we can turn it back over to them,” he said.

Fernald said one option available to the city is to file an action in court, but by the time it came before a judge, the contract would be over. He would rather seek a solution beneficial to both parties.

“If they’re not going to pick it up, they want out, that’s that — then we’ll let them out,” he said. “If they don’t honor their contract, it affects their business reputation. It affects how people perceive them if they don’t get what they want. They got a fair shot at the contract, as fair a shot as anyone else for the contract.”

Fernald did not recommend withholding payment, however.

“We’re just going to let them treat us any kind of way?” Ward 1 Alderman Dorsey Cameron asked.

“We did not think it would come to this,” Fernald said. “We really thought they would honor their contract, especially in the last 90 days because if they’re going to keep doing business in the State of Mississippi or anywhere else, that’s how you make money. That’s how you show people you’re good in your business.”

Cox said between city workers and Waste Pro’s promise to finish the contract, he expects streets to be garbage-free soon.

“We’ll get through it. Y’all just bear with us,” he said.