Desoto County News

Supervisors make decisions about garbage service

You could say the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors was “talking trash” during Monday’s regular meeting in Hernando. 

At one point, board members were determining whether its current garbage collection service, Waste Pro, could take Labor Day off as a holiday.

At the next moment, the board was working with its future collection service, Waste Connections, about when recycling service would begin when it takes over on Oct. 1.  

Waste Pro, which now has the garbage contract with the county through the end of September for the unincorporated area, had asked to not have to run routes on Labor Day. The county initially refused the request, citing its dissatisfaction with Waste Pro’s service in normal weeks of operation. 

The refusal brought Waste Pro regional vice president John Snyder to Monday’s board meeting to explain why the service needed to have Labor Day off.  

Snyder told the board that its disposal site, BFI’s South Shelby landfill, would be closed on Labor Day, leaving them with no place to dispose of the trash it would collect on the holiday if it were made to operate. 

He was concerned that if his trucks ran on Labor Day, the collected trash would have to stay in the truck overnight until Tuesday when the landfill opened and that would leave open the possibility of the truck catching fire.

“The board was very sympathetic to that and they understood,” said Ray Laughter, county Director of Environmental Services/Parks and Greenways. “The board decided to allow them to observe the Labor Day holiday and delay garbage until Tuesday.”

As done for other holidays, collection will be moved one day, with Monday routes done on Tuesday, Tuesday moved to Wednesday, and so on through the end of the week.  The rubbish pit on Sandidge Road will also be closed on Labor Day.  

“It was a good, positive meeting,” Laughter said. “It was good that someone from Waste Pro came and talked to us about the way things are and go from there.”  

Laughter did point out that Waste Pro last week completed all of its routes in the week for the first time since May.

“They rented some trucks and had gotten trucks in from other areas so they could provide the service that our residents are paying for,” Laughter said.  

As the contract with Waste Pro ends, Waste Connections will take over the unincorporated county routes and recycling was a concern brought to the Board of Supervisors on Monday.  

A team of county representatives has been in talks with Waste Connections about the transition and the biggest thing has been how recycling service will be done.  

Waste Connections charges $10 a month for recycling per unit, which Laughter said is a significant charge because county residents now do not pay for recycling with Waste Pro.  

“At first, Waste Connections wanted to do an ‘opt out’ program, where they would run out 6,500 recycling carts and residents would have to opt out of the service,” Laughter said. “The board said it did not want to do that, believing it could become a disaster. People who are going to recycle now are going to be your passionate recyclers.”  

Laughter said garbage bills are going up and will be higher under the contract with Waste Connections, at $17.50 per house a month plus an additional $10 a month if recycling is included. If anyone wants an additional garbage cart, it will be $6 a month for the added cart.  However, he pointed out that county residents, under Waste Connections, will still pay less than city customers in DeSoto County. 

Waste Connections needs time with the start of the new contract to allow people to sign up for recycling, so garbage collection will start on Oct. 1 and recycling will begin Nov. 1 when the new provider has determined who will want recycling. 

“That gives everybody time for residents to say they want recycling and Waste Connections can send them their bill, sign up and pay for recycling,” Laughter said. “Garbage is not billed in arrears, it’s billed ahead of time. It also gives them time to set their routes up. We just want this transition to go as smoothly as possible and be a better service for the people.”  

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob is also heard on 95.3 The Rebel twice a week with sports updates and high school football play-by-play broadcasts in the fall. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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