Jackson officials appeared in the Hinds County Chancery Court on Monday morning for a hearing to decide if the city council can begin contract negotiations with a trash collection company.
The capital city has not had a contract with a garbage disposal company for over two weeks, with city council members repeatedly voting down proposals to award an emergency contract to Richard’s Disposal until a long-term vendor is selected.
Officials including Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Council President Ashby Foote, Virgi Lindsay, and Aaron Banks were in attendance at the hearing, which was called after the city council accused Lumumba of only proposing contracts with Richard’s Disposal for over a year.
Lumumba has stated that he has brought up contracts with only Richard’s Disposal as the company had the lowest estimated bid for a twice-a-week collection provider in the October 2021 request for proposals (RFP).
During Monday’s hearing, Special Judge H. David Clark denied Lumumba’s motion to stay the case, which was filed one day before the city’s emergency contract with Richard’s Disposal ended.
Hinds County Administrator Kenny Wayne Jones said that he believes it is both the fault of the city council and the mayor for the lack of trash collection services in Jackson.
“Out of a collective group, they failed the people. You’ve got trash all over the place based on you not being able to sit there and come out with a rational contract where people can get basic human services,” Jones said. “These services are critical to things like health and everything else. In a minute, you’re going to have rats and everything running around everywhere.”
Jones added that he thinks Mississippi officials should call a special session to fix Jackson’s ongoing disputes over a garbage disposal contractor if the city council and Lumumba cannot come to an agreement.
“Call a special session and do the same thing you just did with CCID to get the trash,” Jones said. “I only see anyone talking about how we got a garbage problem, trash problem. Let’s handle that the same way.”
The court has recessed until 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning.