For Immediate Release:
February 17, 2022
MAYOR LUMUMBA DECLARES LOCAL EMERGENCY OVER GARBAGE CONTRACT
(Jackson, Miss.) – Today, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba declared a local emergency as the Council has again refused to authorize a contract with the top-rated and legally-procured garbage collection vendor.
The declaration comes as the city’s garbage contract is set to expire April 1, and negotiations to approve the winning contract with Richard’s Disposal have been unsuccessful. A majority of the City Council has voted against Richard’s Disposal, who won the bidding process in accordance with the law, and have provided no reasonable or compelling reasons for doing so.
The refusal to approve the top-rated contract puts the City in legal jeopardy.
Waste Management, whose bids did not win out in the last two Request for Proposal processes, is currently the City’s provider after a separate local emergency was declared in September.
Without a contract in place, the City will have no means to collect garbage from residences and businesses potentially leading to a public health issue. The failure to properly collect and dispose of garbage could expose the City to civil penalties of up to $25,000 a day and other legal action by the state environmental arm, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
The Mayor, who exercises the executive powers of the municipality, has the sole authority to issue an emergency order.
“It is unfortunate we are at this point,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said. “My administration has worked overtime to explain every step of the process in what is normally a routine contract bidding process.”
“There’s no dispute that Richard’s won fair and square and would also save the City millions of dollars over the course of the contract, retain twice a week pickup with a cart and bring good-paying jobs to Jackson,” said Lumumba. “The only question now is how much legal exposure the City could face.”
If an agreement cannot be reached, the City intends to pursue a separate contract for garbage collection until a new contract is legally procured. The emergency order is effective immediately and will be brought before the City Council at its next meeting.