Months old letter shows Lumumba asking for trash resolution
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has made public a letter he sent to City Council President Ashby Foote in November 2022 responding to questions about the city's trash pickup contract with Richard's Disposal Inc. which has a deadline of March 31.
In an interview earlier this week, Lumumba said he is confident that the city's trash pickup situation will be resolved.
However, Foote has been critical of Lumumba in the process, saying, "When (Lumumba) didn’t get his first choice, the mayor abandoned the RFP process and declared an emergency. The mayor has been operating outside the law which is validated by the numerous court decisions that have gone against him."
In sending the letter to the media, Lumumba said, "Our objective is clear. We want our residents to know that we have taken enormous efforts to secure a garbage collection contract. We have gone through three separate RFP processes in the last several years. A slim majority of the City Council has refused to accept the contract of the top-rated vendors in the last two RFP processes. First, it was FCC Environmental and now it is Richards Disposal."
Letter to Councilman Foote by USA TODAY Network on Scribd
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Lumumba exclusive:Exclusive: Mayor Lumumba on the future of Jackson's trash pickup
In the letter, Lumumba said, "the Mayor has the authority to find independent contractors/vendors who can provide necessary emergency services and present contracts to the Council for approval. Only the Mayor may negotiate a contract for solid waste disposal on behalf of the City of Jackson."
According to figures submitted by the vendors in 2021 and provided to the Clarion Ledger from the City of Jackson, Richard's previous proposal for twice a week pickup with a cart is $756,000 a year while its closest competitor, Waste Management is offering the same service for more than $1.16 million, a difference of $360,720. Richard's Disposal's quote for twice a week pickup is less than FCC Environmental Services' quote for once-a-week pickup in every instance.
In the letter from nearly five months ago, Lumumba said a deadline is on the horizon and that a decision needs to be made.
"Despite the litigation and the looming deadline on the emergency contract, we now know Richard’s has proven it can do the job of garbage collection in Jackson and at a much more affordable rate than that of the other vendors. Richard’s is the only one willing to honor its price on the RFP. Therefore, there are no other options or other companies to negotiate with."
Foote maintains that a year ago the city was considering twice-a-week pickup with no carts. And in that scenario, Waste Management had the best rating at 84.286 versus Richard’s at 82.833. The Council had said weeks earlier that the preferred twice a week without a cart.
So, there is an impasse as the mayor touts the service with the lowest price while the council touts the service with the highest rating.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Jackson MS mayor Lumumba asked for trash contract resolution months ago