Talking Trash…

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Cleaning Up Confusion

Since I first took office over 8 years ago, two subjects generate more phone calls, emails, and text messages for me than any others: drainage and trash (solid waste collection).

Solid waste collection is a fundamental function of local government. It’s a health, safety, and quality of life issue. And we’ve grown accustomed to the frequency of pick-ups for garbage, trash/debris, and recyclables. However, we, as a community, have experienced serious issues with the service we were receiving. I know, because I fielded many calls and emails concerning lapses in service.

With the way the current contract (expiring later this year) is structured, the City of Gulfport collects payment for service but does not directly control the level of service from the solid waste collector or administer any part of that contract. The City collects the fees and relays those funds over to the Harrison County Utility Authority (HCUA). HCUA administers this contract.

Generally, when I pay someone for a service, I expect them to deliver that service. Since Gulfport residents pay for garbage service on their City water bill, many of our citizens called the City with garbage and trash issues even though we did not administer this contract and couldn’t contractually require the service provider to do anything about those issues. The City referred customers to call HCUA. HCUA then made them call Waste Pro. Then, Waste Pro would put customers in a queue for concerns they could address and refer them back to HCUA for complaints with the contract. By the time customers, many of whom are Gulfport citizens, got to talk to the right person, they were very frustrated and confused as to why anyone would invent or allow a process that is so complicated.

The new contract eliminates this confusion.

Starting October 1, you’ll be able to call 311 for garbage issues, and we’ll be able to address them…directly. Our citizens expect their local government to reduce red tape and unnecessary bureaucracy, this will do that.

As for the level of service, we were able to negotiate much of what we’ve grown to expect with twice weekly garbage collection and once weekly trash collection. Pick-up days and exact amount paid for garbage collection may slightly change due to the new contract, but in order to keep the cost close to the current level that we pay monthly, we reduced the frequency of recycling pickup to every other week. When we educate more people about recycling and grow the participation level, we will revisit that portion of the contract.

As for keeping Waste Pro as our contractor…Waste Pro provided great rates to the City for our new contract and has shown us that they know how to do their business when they do not have undue interference and are expected to do their job. We expect them to continue to do so. If they don’t, your elected City Council will now be able to cancel the contract. This keeps the contractor accountable to people that you hold accountable.

Although, we have addressed a large portion of the trash issue affecting Gulfport with this new contract, not all trash placed curbside has to be picked up by the solid waste collector. Disposal of landscaping and lawn maintenance debris generated by third-party contractors or any building material falls outside of the solid waste collection contract and is the responsibility of the contractor or property owner. Placement of these items will generate Code Enforcement issues that the mayor and his administration will have to address. State statutes governing code enforcement make the process extremely slow, so please encourage your neighbors and contractors to dispose of debris properly.

Dedeaux Road Widening Update

At the July 25, 2017 MDOT Commission meeting, the transportation commissioners voted to concur with the Gulfport Council’s award of this construction contract.

13. Upon the receipt of all necessary documentation from the Local Public Agencies
(LPA), request concurrence with the listed LPA recommendations to award the
construction bids on the following projects:

City of Gulfport
STPD-9730-00(004)LPA/104866-801000, Widen Dedeaux Road from two (2)
lanes to four (4) lanes from the intersection of Three Rivers Road eastward to
Dede Drive, to the low bidder Moran Hauling, Inc., at a cost of $5,404,860.75
which is 3.28% over the LPA Engineer’s Estimate of $5,233,292.51.

Mississippi Engineering Group (MSEG) is working with Moran Hauling to ensure all necessary documentation is submitted to MDOT to stay on the predicted schedule.

Dedeaux Rd Status Report 8-2-17 by rleeflowers on Scribd

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