Jackson officials are still researching a way to reimburse residents across the capital city for nearly three weeks without trash collection services last month.
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba provided an update on current efforts to give money back to the city’s nearly 150,000 residents during a press conference on Monday, stating that officials are still unsure of what steps will be taken in the coming months.
Less than two weeks after the city’s emergency contract with Richard’s Disposal expired, city attorney Catoria Martin released that the municipality was looking into if it can legally reimburse a portion of April’s sanitation funds to paying customers that are within Jackson city limits.
Martin explained that the city could not give a complete refund to every resident that pays $37 each month to have garbage picked up at their homes twice a week.
“We are right now calculating what the amount would actually be,” Martin said. “I assume it would be a small amount… I don’t know exactly how much it will be, but what I can say is that we think legally, we can go through and run the calculations on exactly what is equivalent to the amount we are charging customers for in terms of collection.”
Now, over one month after the contract’s expiration, city officials have stated that they are still working to provide a partial refund to those who paid for trash pickup in April without putting a strain on Jackson’s finances.
“I want to state again that we are researching how we can provide a credit to residents for the period of time in which there was not actually curbside garbage pickup,” Lumumba said. “The reason that we have to investigate how we apply a credit… is because your sanitation fee does not only pay for your curbside pickup. It pays for the rubbish landfill that the city operates. It pays for the roll-off dumpster stays. It pays for the crews that go and clean up areas of the city.”
At this time, the capital city’s sanitation division is running a $4 million deficit due to a lack of water billing throughout the majority of Jackson.
Lumumba added that in the meantime, residents will still see a sanitation fee on their bills until the city agrees on a way to apply a credit.