Trash collection company Richard’s Disposal has stated that all garbage pickup operations in Jackson will be suspended on Saturday if the city does not pay for services that have been provided for over six months.
For over a year now, the Jackson City Council and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba have argued about which waste disposal contractor should be awarded a contract with the capital city. The disagreement began in August 2021, with Lumumba issuing an emergency contract for six additional months with Waste Management — the prior trash pickup company used in Jackson — before the September contract would end one month later.
After six months passed, Lumumba issued another emergency declaration regarding the trash disposal contracts in early February, later awarding the contract to Richard’s Disposal. The council then passed for the continuation of Lumumba’s state of emergency, but removed Richard’s Disposal from the declaration and replaced it with Waste Management.
A council meeting was held on March 8 where the council made a final vote against the emergency contract with Richard’s Disposal twice. The final vote was 4-1 with one abstaining both times.
Since then, there has not been a valid contract between either waste disposal company, resulting in uncertainty on who would pick up trash for the residents in Jackson. Richard’s Disposal, however, continued operations across the capital city without payment or an official agreement from Jackson officials.
Now, Richard’s Disposal has announced that the company plans to cease all trash collection if it is not paid by Saturday. An attorney for the company told WLBT that based on the amount charged during the first two months of service, the city owes Richard’s Disposal $4.8 million.
Currently, the waste pickup contractor has filed a motion for summary judgment for the “immediate payment of the fair market value of the solid waste collections services rendered to the defendant.” Richard’s Disposal has argued that it has not been told to end trash collection services by city officials despite the city council voting against extending the emergency contract and sending a cease and desist letter in March.
Lumumba has released the following statement regarding the company’s decision to cease waste pickup:
“I would like to thank Richard’s Disposal, their 70 local employees, and Mr. Alvin Richard for their dedicated service over the past six months. They have met all the obligations of their executed contract and have gone above and beyond the terms of the agreement. It is unfortunate that the Jackson City Council has failed to ratify the executed contract and allow for payment for services rendered. The citizens of Jackson have paid and continue to pay for the solid waste collection, and they have received the services but, due to inaction by the Jackson City Council, my administration is legally unable to pay Richard’s for services rendered. My thoughts and prayers are with the 70 local employees and their families who are facing unemployment as we approach the holiday season.”
Residents are encouraged to manage interrupted trash pick-up by:
- Reducing the amount of household waste by using reusable containers and other sustainable household products and goods, rather than disposables;
- Freezing seafood waste until garbage pickup resumes;
- Continuing to drop-off all Household Hazardous Waste at 1570 University Boulevard; and
- Staying informed by following updates via the City of Jackson’s official website, through social media, and the local news.
The city of Jackson has released that officials are currently exploring all options for garbage pickup, including designated local pickup spots.