Desoto County News

Southaven moves to new garbage collection service

Southaven city officials have voted to move to a new provider for their sanitation pickup services. In a special meeting Thursday afternoon, Feb. 22, aldermen voted to award the contract to Waste Pro, moving away from Waste Connections. 

It’s a return to a service previously used by the City of Southaven and a move away from a company used elsewhere in DeSoto County, including a recent move from Waste Pro to Waste Connections by the Board of Supervisors for the unincorporated areas of the county.  

The two-year contract, with the third-lowest bid among the companies submitting bids, will have residents being charged $17.64 a month over two years with the ability to renew the contract each year up to six years.  

Alderman William Jerome made the motion for the contract with Alderman John David Wheeler offering a motion second after describing problems he’s seen with garbage pick up with the current service. Jerome, aware that the new contract will mean a higher monthly rate, added an increased level of service will be expected for the rate hike.  

“Even though they are a higher bid, we expect a higher level of service to the citizens of Southaven,” Jerome said.  

Service, or lack of it, was central to the discussion in Thursday’s special meeting. The move to Waste Pro was something Public Works Director Robert Booth said he couldn’t support.  

“I can’t honor what y’all have requested,” Booth said. “In past dealings with Waste Pro, we’ve had too many issues and their history that follows them. I can’t see it being any better at this time. My recommendation is that we stay with Waste Connections.”

“I just have major concerns with the past experiences and issues and the issues that they had with DeSoto County government last year and the City of Memphis two years ago had terminated their contract,” added Alderman George Payne, who participated remotely by phone. “My concern is from the corporate level about the funding that they have to fix trucks and replacing trucks and when trucks break down that they are able to service the routes at a due diligent time.”

Another area of concern was the usage of side loaders that apparently has left some bags not picked up because of the way the trucks use technology to grab and load trash can contents onto the truck with added manpower.  Waste Connections has used side loader trucks which means fewer men per truck but also means all of the garbage must be in the container which the truck then picks up to deposits the refuse into the truck.

Jerome’s motion, however, came with the understanding Waste Pro would use eight rear loader trucks that may add an extra person on the crew, but will be able to load more bags into the truck.  

While not advocating one contract over another, Mayor Darren Musselwhite reminded aldermen that collection problems are not unique to one service over the other.  

“You have to own your past record, you can’t come in and say you’re new and you’re going to change everything,” Musselwhite said.

The mayor also pointed out that sanitation and sewer rates are going to rise, with the Horn Lake Creek Sewer Interceptor District court decision in favor of the City of Memphis an indication of what is to come. Musselwhite warned the price will have to be justified.  

“We’re now charging $12 a month,” the mayor said. “You’re taking the third lowest bidder and I have a problem awarding the contract to the third-lowest bidder, considering the fact that the citizens are going to have their costs go up.”

Details about the change of date when the new contract will go into effect will now be worked out ahead of the changeover.