Council extends garbage contract

By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

Tupelo's City Council approved a two-year extension of its residential garbage collection contract with Waste Management Inc., Tuesday night.

The pact will ensure that residential rates charged the city by the company remain the same for the new contract period.

It also limits boosts in the caps for commercial garbage rates to 3 percent, with no increase to occur before Jan. 1, 2002.

City Chief Operations Officer Phil Sullivan noted that commercial rates are negotiated between Waste Management and its business customers, but said the city is involved in setting maximum rates by container volume.

In a related move, the council turned over billing of hand-held (small container) commercial customers to Waste Management. The move will result in a 20-cent decrease, from $10.95 to $10.75 a month, for the city's 1,300 or so hand-held customers.

Ward 5 Councilman Tommy Doty opposed both agreements, but there was no debate. The contract will run to August 2003.

Council President James Williams presided, but did not participate in discussions and abstained from voting.

Williams said later his decision was dictated by ties he once had in a partnership that leases facilities to Waste Management. Williams has since sold his interest in the partnership.

"I just didn't want any appearance of a possible conflict," he said.

In other action, the council sent back to the Parks and Recreation Department a proposal for leasing the newly renovated Bel Air Center to the public.

Ward 3 Councilman Mike Coutoumanos said he believed the proposal restricted use of the facility. The city proposed charging $375 a weekend for use of the building when available, even if renters wanted it only for a single night.

Parks and Recreation director Milton Smith said the janitorial contract the city has calls for only two cleaning days a week. The department also has programs scheduled for the building through most of the month, he said.

"I'd like to see more options on the way we use it," Coutoumanos said. "I'd like for them (parks personnel) to come back in two weeks with other ideas."

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