City Council Votes Again To Award Garbage Contract

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

The Meridian City Council has again voted 3-2 in favor of Waste Management to handle the city's garbage pickup.

Mayor Cheri Barry has promised, again, to veto it. She said she won't allow the council to be fiscally irresponsible.

It requires four votes to override a mayoral veto. But council members George Thomas and Barbara Henson agree with Barry, so attempts to override only resulted in three votes..

"I don't think there is a question, can you do the work?" said Thomas at Tuesday night's meeting, arguing that Southern Waste is not only the lowest bid but the best. Thomas said the company's record proves that.

Meanwhile, council members Jesse Palmer, Bobby Smith and Mary Perry maintain that Waste Management, the higher bidder, has the best bid.

"There is a possibility that this council could face a lawsuit if it is determined that their choice is not the lowest and the best," said Henson.

"Someone said, you are going to get sued. Who cares? But I tell you, it would be a frivolous cause, because we are protected by law that says lowest and best. And I say Waste Management has the best," Palmer said.

"The is the very same contract I vetoed for my first veto of the city of Meridian," said Barry. "And I will continue to veto. We will come up with a solution. And we have people working hard looking for the best solution for the city."

According to Thomas, it isn't financially responsible to go with the higher bid.

"We've eliminated positions; we've furloughed people. And here we are talking about spending $107,000 for a service we can get for less," said Thomas. "I have not yet heard why it is best."

The council meeting was recessed until Sept. 30. Jesse Palmer and Bobby Smith will not be present at that time.

None of the parties involved seem to know what will happen if a decision isn't reached by the end of the month, when the current Waste Management contract expires.

The city advertised for bids for once per week pickup, as opposed to the twice per week service in place now. That was done as a cost-saving measure.

Both George Thomas and Barbara Henson favored, and still favor, a contract with Southern Waste, which came in about $107,000 per year less than the WM bid.

The Meridian City Council voted 3-2 again Tuesday in favor of awarding a garbage collection contract to Waste Management.

Mayor Barry says she will also veto this vote of the council.

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