Posted on March 29, 2023

With Jackson, MS, Days Away From No Trash Pickup, City Council Takes Further Legal Action

Wicker Perlis, Clarion Ledger, March 27, 2023

Jackson residents are less than one week away from the prospect of their trash not being collected, as an emergency contract issued by the mayor but never approved by the city council is set to expire at the end of the month. No solution is in sight.

During a Monday news conference, City Council President Ashby Foote could not say what would happen next week, calling on Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba to present the council with a plan to prevent garbage from piling up.


Lumumba conducted an exclusive interview with the Clarion Ledger last week, where he said he is “prayerful” regarding a solution occurring before the end of the week.

The city council is also taking its own action. In legal documents filed Sunday by the council’s attorney Deshun Martin, council members are asking a judge to rule that they can both appoint a vendor to collect garbage and initiate a new Request for Proposals process that could see them come to a more long-lasting solution. They are asking for a “speedy ruling,” with the pullout of current garbage collector Richard’s Disposal Inc. looming.

Martin said the judge should rule in the council’s favor because Lumumba has failed to present the council with a contract that can find majority support. The mayor has repeatedly presented plans to award the contract to Richard’s, but after those contracts have been voted down has not moved on to a “second vendor,” argue Martin and Foote.

That second vendor, under the most recent RFP process, would be Waste Management. However, in a letter sent by Waste Management to Lumumba and obtained by the Clarion Ledger earlier this month, that company’s leaders said the previous RFP was over and it would not be able to operate under it.


State law calls for the “lowest and best” bid to be accepted. Richard’s scored lower than Waste Management and one other bidder before cost was factored in. However, once Richard’s lower price tag was factored in, its bid for twice per week with a cart scored the highest. Waste Management scored highest for twice a week without a cart. Cost accounted for 35% of the total RFP scores.


In October, residents of Jackson faced a similar deadline, with Richard’s saying it would stop operating in the city unless it was paid for the work it had been doing. A settlement was reached in court where the company would be paid until the end of the month that the state supreme court ruled in a case on the mayor awarding the emergency contract. The court ruled earlier this month, in favor of the council, setting the end of Richard’s payment to coincide with the expected expiration of the emergency contract.