As questions remain about the contract for Jackson’s emergency garbage vendor and legal action between the mayor and City Council continue, residents had the opportunity recently to ask questions about the garbage situation.
The city hosted a town hall last week to hear from residents about their experiences with service from Richard’s Disposal Inc.
Below are highlights from last week’s town hall and other information about the company picking up residents’ garbage.
Who is the vendor picking up residents’ garbage?
New Orleans-based Richard’s Disposal Inc. has been collecting trash twice a week since April 1.
The company has an emergency contract through March 30, 2023, though whether that contract has been valid is being disputed in court and through City Council meetings.
Alvin Richard is the founder and CEO of Richard’s Disposal, which was created 30 years ago.
The company has contracts with the City of New Orleans for residential garbage collection and small business solid waste curbside pickup and has worked with the City of Baton Rouge and commercial businesses, according to its website.
What are current issues with garbage pickup?
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba acknowledged that the inability to get a contract approved by the city council and Richard’s Disposal not having enough time to prepare to take over the city’s garbage collection have impacted the city’s garbage collection service.
Lumumba also said the city’s inability to maintain records of garbage routes has also contributed to issues with pickup.
“You have suffered at the hands of that,” Lumumba said at the town hall meeting.
Representatives from Richard’s Disposal heard from several people who said their garbage pickup has been delayed.
“We appreciate your patience with us,” said Kimberly Mueller, who is part of the marketing team for Richard’s Disposal. “Every day it gets better.”
What do residents have to say about the garbage situation?
More than 40 people attended the town hall meeting and about a dozen asked questions.
One woman asked for people to give Richard’s Disposal a chance to do its job and for the city to move on.
“We’re sitting here talking about trash being picked up by a new company,” she said. “Really?”
Alfrenett Johnson-Orr, a Ward 4 resident in South Jackson, asked how a contract with Richard’s Disposal will be different than the previous one with Waste Management.
“We deserve the same service as everybody else and that’s what we expect,” she said.
Johnson-Orr also wanted to know how much the ongoing legal action is costing the city.
A newer Jackson resident asked whether there was a grace period for paying the garbage service fee if pickup is delayed. Lumumba said such an option isn’t available, and that kind of relief isn’t something the city can afford.
Residents also asked about other ongoing city issues, including water and sewer and infrastructure improvements.
Lumumba said the city plans to hold more town halls about the city’s garbage serv. Several were also held last year.
How can residents call about garbage collection delays?
The local number to reach Richard’s Disposal is 769-333-4222.
Residents can also call the 311 Action Line, which is meant for all non-emergency city service requests including garbage.
Calls to the 311 line will be shared with the city’s Public Works Department, which includes the Solid Waste Division, which will relay calls to Richard’s Disposal.
Reporter Mina Corpuz can be reached by email at email@example.com. You can follow her on Twitter @mlcorpuz.