County garbage rates going up, will provide containers

Union County Board of Supervisors Feb 18
Union Co. Emergency Services Director, Curt Clayton addresses the Union County Board of Supervisors.
February 19th, 2020     Featured Government & Politics


Union County MS – Union County residents outside the City of New Albany will see their garbage collection cost increase 20 percent in a month or so.

The board of supervisors voted Tuesday to increase the rate from $10 per month to $12 per month. The added cost will be used for the county to purchase solid waste containers for each county household.

“We plan to buy containers for every household late this year or early next year,” board president Randy Owen said. He said later that some residents have used improper containers that are not secure and some not used any at all so this should help reduce litter problems from scattered garbage.

There are about 7,000 households outside New Albany, according to 2018 Census figures. Owen estimated the mass purchase of containers could cost $400,000 to $500,000.

“When we order the canisters they will be delivered to each house as well as instructions as how to use them properly,” Third District Supervisor C. J. Bright said. “No one will have to pick up anything.”

“Also, the rate increase is not to just cover cans but to cover the ever-increasing cost of waste collection. We only have one truck in the fleet that is relatively new and three currently requiring costly and extensive repairs.”

“Even with the increase, we still have one of the lowest rates in our Three Rivers area,” Bright added.

The county contracts with Three Rivers Solid Waste Consortium to dispose of garbage. It also pays Three Rivers Planning and Development District about 60 cents per customer to take care of billing (he did not have the exact figure). “They’ve been doing it a long time and do a good job,” he said.

Garbage in the county is picked up once a week.

The county budgets about $1.3 million for solid waste disposal annually, which this year includes $160,000 for vehicles, $220,000 for the contractual services and about $340,000 for personal services.

The City of New Albany charges $9.95 per month for solid waste collection for its approximately 3,000 households and does not furnish containers.

Years ago, the city collected garbage two times a week. Then a new state law required solid waste collection to be self-supporting, meaning the city could no longer subsidize it. Officials at the time decided customers would prefer to go to only one pickup per week rather than approximately double the rate.

In another matter, supervisors approved a recommendation from emergency management director Curt Clayton to set minimum standards for Emergency Medical Responders in the county.

Clayton said the EMR program began with a couple of fire departments about 2011 or 2012 and gradually spread. “But they never officially adopted minimum standards,” he said, adding that the standards are needed for insurance purposes and also for consistency, the EMR board agreed.

The standard adopted is for EMRs to successfully complete a 40-hour basic course and then take a refresher every two years.

Clayton said there are an average of about five EMRs attached to each volunteer fire department. They are trained in basic lifesaving measures such as airway protection and blood loss control. They carry basic kits, but several also have their own oxygen supply and some even have Automated External Defibrillators (AED). Each fire department has an AED accessible as well.

Clayton said the EMRs have become more important lately. There were several instances in the past week or so in which ambulances were needed, but were either 30 minutes out or not available at all.

He said he knew of several instances where EMRs made the difference whether the patient lived or died.

The board approved a variety of routine matters, including approving a grant reported this past month that will come from the Department of Archives and History. The grant will be used to put a new roof on the old county jail and make further renovations on the courthouse building.

They accepted bids to purchase five new dump trucks with the low bid being slightly less than $80,000 for each. The purchase was made through a reverse auction, a process approved by the state last year, in which competitors submit a series of lower bids until only one bidder is left.

New supervisors C. J. Bright and Sam Taylor will attend the Quality Asphalt Conference Feb. 18-19 in Biloxi with the cost to be reimbursed to the county by the State Aid Road Program.

The next scheduled board meeting will be Monday, March 2, at 10 a.m. in the boardroom of the chancery court building.

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