Harrison County

Gulfport has a new deal for garbage collection

A WastePro truck picks up garbage in Gulfport on July 18. Separate trucks pick up recycling.
A WastePro truck picks up garbage in Gulfport on July 18. Separate trucks pick up recycling. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

Residents will be paying three cents more for garbage and rubbish pickup than they would have had the city remained with the Harrison County Utility Authority.

Under a contract approved unanimously by the City Council on Thursday, the monthly price per customer under the contract with Waste Pro will be $14.36, three cents more than the rest of the county’s households will pay under the Team Waste contract negotiated by the Utility Authority. Both contracts will take effect Oct. 1.

Gulfport residents will have pickup for garbage two days a week compared to one for HCUA customers. HCUA would have recycling pickup once a week compared to every other week in Gulfport.

Gulfport officials said they wanted to negotiate a separate contract because they weren’t happy with the way HCUA and its executive director Donald Schaar were administering the contract.

And, they say they negotiated a better contract than did HCUA.

“It solidified our belief that we had going into this process that we were better off going on our own and handling our own negotiations,” Ward 5 Councilman Myles Sharpe said.

He said they also negotiated with Team Waste, but the contract with Waste Pro will end up saving $4.08 per household, or $7.2 million over the life of the contract.

And, he said, they chose to reduce the number of days recyclables are picked up because only about 15 percent of the households recycle. The contract requires Waste Pro to run an education program to try to raise that percentage, but until it does, Sharpe said, it doesn’t make sense to send trucks “driving every street of the city of Gulfport every single week in search of those people.”

“It’s not efficient, it’s not cost effective,” he said. “If the need arises, we may go back to the table and negotiate more pickups.”

The price includes landfill charges for disposing of the garbage and rubbish. HCUA two years ago negotiated a 10-year contract with Team Waste for rubbish and Waste Management for garbage.

Gulfport was part of that deal, but now it wants to leave the solid waste service contract with HCUA. How that will affect the disposal part of the garbage bills is unclear, although City Council President Rusty Walker said Thursday the city was committed to using the Team Waste’s and Waste Management’s landfills.

Team Waste sued the HCUA and Gulfport on Wednesday to try to force it to stay in the HCUA disposal contract. They discussed that suit in executive session and it’s likely to come up at meeting at 9 a.m. Friday of the HCUA

Paul Hampton: 228-284-7296, @JPaulHampton