Thursday, April 6, 2006
Two companies bid for county’s solid waste collection
By SUE WATSON
Bids to a request for proposals for solid waste collection and disposal were opened Monday with only two companies competing.
Waste Collections entered a base bid for monthly residential household garbage pickup and disposal at $16.48 and Resourceful Environmental Services, the company now providing service to the county, offered a base bid of $13.75 per month per household unit.
Supervisors voted to take bids under advisement while consultant Jim McNaughton, with Environmental Business Services (EBS), studies the bids. EBS will make a recommendation to the board of supervisors at the Monday, April 10, meeting.
Two other companies responding to the county’s RFP, declined to bid on the contract. Red River Service’s Chip Barton said in declining a bid, “this is not a good opportunity at this time based on changes to specifications.”
Allied Waste Services declined a bid saying the company did not have enough time to prepare a competitive bid.
R.E.S., which has held the contract with the county six years, charges $10.10 monthly under the present agreement.
Resident Joseph Ford addressed the board prior to bid opening saying “a lot of little women” living alone in his area have urged him to make their will known to the board.
People who do not pay the residential waste bill cause people who do pay their bill to pay more, he said.
He suggested the county bill for the service through a utility, put the bill on a person’s tax, or make landlords responsible for unpaid bills of their renters.
“In Panola County they have mandatory garbage pickup and the county mandating to collect,” he said.
Ford rejected letting some 4,000 households in the county get by without paying.
“Approximately 4,000 (household units) not paying is a large number,” said Ford.
Neither the county nor the ones who elect to pay their bills should have to subsidize the garbage collections for those who refuse to pay, he said.
Jennifer Jackson with the Panola County administrator’s office, said her county began with a commercial contract in 1993 and five or six years later took over garbage collection and billing itself.
In October 2004, Panola County instituted stricter measures to collect its garbage bills and collections increased from $15,000 to $30,000 more a month. Panola services about 6,500 households, she said.
Customers who get behind on payments ($11 a month) four months, have their accounts turned over to a collections agency which has four months to collect the delinquent bills.
Panola also activates a flag-the-tag system at four months past due. After eight months those with past due accounts get summons from Justice Court which can garnish wages, she said.
When a customer whose tag is flagged comes in to purchase a tag, the customer must pay at least 25 percent of their past-due bill, no matter how large or small. The customer then arranges with the county to pay an agreed amount monthly on the bill in arrears plus the monthly current $11, Jackson said.
If the past due bill is no more than $150, the customer is required to pay the bill in full before getting a tag renewed.
Jackson said excuses and complaints run the gamut with the typical excuse being, “I’m on a fixed income.”
“Well, who in this day and time is not on a fixed income?” Jackson asked.
Most customers who are served warrants from Justice Court pay before the matter goes any further, Jackson said.
Road and bridge reports
The board approved a change order for $8,004 to pay for driveway culverts for 7 drives on Strickland Road.
Engineer Larry Britt said bridges on Marianna Road will be paved over then guard rails installed. The work can’t be finished until asphalt companies go back to work, he said.
An April 11 meeting of the board of supervisors has been scheduled with the contractor responsible for paving segments on Hernando Road, Britt said.
The Mississippi Legislature passed a new LSBP, Local System Bridge Program, appropriation bill last week, he said. The money helps counties with program road and bridge construction on roads eligible for state aid.
Marshall Utility Services is operational, according to Bill Renick, executive director of Marshall County Industrial Authority.
The utility has one customer but expects several more large customers as developments go in at Chickasaw Trails Expanded Industrial Park, he said.
“The $1.5 million investment is ready to serve that area,” Renick said.
Developers of a 140-acre site opposite the Exel facility have a prospect that would build a very large facility, he said. Because of these prospects, Renick requested that curbs and gutters be laid on Mt. Carmel Road from Wingo Road to Highway 302. He said IDA would look to a CDBG grant for financial help with the project.
Cargill closed with IDA March 27 and infrastructure for the pet food manufacturing facility will cost an estimated $962,000, Renick said. That includes rail service and water and sewer and gas service. Cargill is expected to open in June 2007, he said.
Construction at the airport will bring $300,000 in improvements, including lighting and field work.
Renick asked the board of supervisors to meet with a financial company out of Vicksburg for a briefing on plans for development of Holly Springs Commons, a $170 million project.
“If the financial plan goes through, this will be the largest investment in Marshall County,” he said.
“It’s a big, big deal,” Renick said.
County consultant Gary Anderson provided an update on activities at last week’s legislative session.
He said the session was dominated by matters related to Hurricane Katrina and how to recover the lower 47 counties now in a Gulf Opportunity Zone.
“It has really influenced a lot of things in the session this year,” Anderson said.
The governor will likely hold a special session for a bond bill later in the year, he said. Only $10 million remains for other state projects, after the budget for Hurricane Katrina recovery.
Anderson said a lot of projects not directly related to Katrina were cut including the county’s request for local and private legislative authority to build an Alcohol and Drug Recovery Center.
The county can explore how to enhance services here prior to getting a building, Anderson said.
The local and private bill for the recovery center did pass the House, but not the Senate, according to Larry Hall.
The board authorized payment of $655,679 in bills and claims for last month. Of that amount, $366,039 came out of the general fund.
Five applicants for the HOME program were forwarded to the state by the Northeast Mississippi Planning and Development District for evaluation and recommendation.
The Appalachian Regional Commission has provided $5,593 to Marshall County Strategic Planning to help pay for the cost of the 2006 LeadershipPlenty Class.
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