Harrison County

County utility wants Gulfport to pay $1.5 million to leave trash contract

Waste Pro garbage and recycling bins sit on the edge of yards along Palmer Drive in Gulfport in July.
Waste Pro garbage and recycling bins sit on the edge of yards along Palmer Drive in Gulfport in July. ttisbell@sunherald.com File

The Harrison County Utility Authority wants the city of Gulfport to pay about $1.5 million to break away from the authority and administer the city’s own garbage/recycling contract.

HCUA members passed a resolution last week to return the proposed memorandum of understanding to Gulfport with the request the city pay the extra money to leave the HCUA solid waste management plan that dates to 1991 and create Gulfport’s own plan.

The main difference between the contracts negotiated by HCUA and Gulfport is the HCUA contract puts an emphasis on recycling with much larger bins on wheels and once-a-week pickup, while Gulfport has a bigger focus on garbage collection with twice-a-week pickup compared to once a week for HCUA, which covers Pass Christian, Long Beach, D’Iberville, Biloxi and the unincorporated areas of the county.

HCUA Executive Director Donald Scharr said it was asking Gulfport to pay the difference in the HCUA contracts with and without Gulfport. He said with Gulfport in the HCUA contract, the price would have been $13.86 per house but without Gulfport, it will be $14.33 per house per month, a difference of 47 cents per house.

“They asked that Gulfport cover the difference in the monthly cost over the six-year contract,” he said.

There will be 43,500 homes in the HCUA contract without Gulfport, so 43,500 multiplied by the monthly difference of 47 cents, multiplied by 12 months, multiplied by the six years of the contract equals $1,472,040.

Mayor Billy Hewes, who voted against that proposal as a member of the HCUA board, still has to take it back to the City Council for its consideration. Its next meeting is Aug. 22.

Gulfport approved a contract with Waste Pro, the current HCUA contractor, that costs 3 cents more a month but has twice as many garbage pickup days.

But Scharr said there has been a significant increase in the number of complaints about Waste Pro and that also factored in to HCUA’s decision to contract with Team Waste of Biloxi for garbage and recycling collection and with Pelican Waste and Disposal for rubbish (grass clippings, limbs, boards and such).

He said the new contract builds in more accountability for the collectors and provides ways for HCUA to withhold payments if they don’t live up to the contracts.

Paul Hampton: 228-284-7296, @JPaulHampton