waste pro

Cost won't change; pickup day may

Starting in 2021, Laurel residents will have a new garbage-collection service.

The four members of the City Council who were present unanimously approved Mayor Johnny Magee signing a four-year contract with Hattiesburg-based Waste Pro to pick up household trash starting Jan. 1. 

The cost won’t change for customers, Magee said, but the day of the week that their garbage is picked up may be different. 

“Normally, garbage is picked up on Monday and Tuesday, but now it will be stretched over five days, and it will be once a week,” Magee said. 

The biggest benefit for residents, Magee said, is that trash will be collected on the day it’s scheduled. That’s been an issue because of personnel problems in the Public Works Department.

“Sometimes, (garbage) still hasn’t been picked up as of Friday because of people not coming to work,” he said. 

With the new company handling the household garbage, city workers will be able to focus on picking up debris that residents place on roadsides. That’s another benefit for customers, Magee said, “because we stay behind with that all the time, too.”

The city will continue to handle billing and the cost of disposal while WastePro will get $9.14 for household every month for its service. 

The city will also save money on the cost of personnel and equipment. The 15 city employees who have been handling garbage collections won’t be on the payroll any more, but they will have an opportunity to interview with WastePro, Magee said. The city will also sell four of the five garbage trucks in its fleet.

“We’re going to keep one just in case we need it,” Magee said. “We may need it at some point, like to pick up garbage after special events like the Loblolly Festival.”

WastePro is the fastest-growing privately owned company in the southeastern United States, according to a letter from company leader Chris Lockwood, with more than 270 contracts with cities, counties and parishes.

“We have grown not by always being the low-bidder, but by being ‘the distinguishable difference’ and concentrating on buying the very best equipment, hiring the very best people and proving ‘world class’ service,” he wrote.

The contract will begin Jan. 1, 2021 and end Dec. 31, 2024. Residents will be notified in the next several weeks when their garbage-collection day will be, Magee said.

In other business, the council approved the lone bid to insure the city’s property, machinery and equipment from SouthGroup at a cost of $264,055.54.

The council also agreed to close out the West 12th Street Improvements Project, which was done by Walters Construction at a cost of $498,198.60.

Members also agreed to donate $2,500 to Laurel Main Street as a sponsor of the New Year’s Even Downtown Countdown Pine Cone Drop.

Councilmen George Carmichael, Stacy Comegys and Anthony Page were absent from the meeting, so the there was barely a quorum to conduct city business. Carmichael was undergoing a medical procedure.

A public hearing was set for Dec. 22 for the owners of the following properties that have been deemed by the Inspection Department as a menace to the public health and safety:

• 1538 West 20th St., John Hatcher;

• 624 West 27th St., Caitlin Realty LLC;

• 1504 North 5th Ave., Illinois Central;

• 102 Pine St., Long Land Investments Inc.;

• 137 West 1st Str, Dee Nero LLC;

• 1502 George St., Rachel Jones;

• 1508 George St., Franklin Jones;

• 1605 South 11th Ave., Ruth Jones;

• 1909 North 5th Ave., Daniel Raybourn Estate

The council unanimously approved allowing city workers to clean the following the properties that the Inspection Department deemed a menace to the public health and safety and bill the property owners:

• 1709 South 11th Ave., Edwin Benton et al;

• 604 Sandy T. Gavin Ave., L&E Properties;

• 1119 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Rickey Devore Estate;

• 1519 Airport Dr., Joe Morgan et al

The council also OK’d cleaning costs at four properties ranging from $115 to $255.

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