After being taken under advisement for nearly five months, a private firm's low bid for weekly residential and commercial garbage collection was rejected by the Neshoba County Board of Supervisors on Thursday.
County Administrator Benjie Coats said the county didn't have sufficient revenue to contract the door-to-door garbage pick up because of the more than 2,000 exemptions from the annual fee for elderly and disabled residents.
In addition, the county has some remaining debt on its garbage trucks, officials said.
The change would have meant that the county would close its sanitation department, which includes some personnel who also work in the road department, Coats said.
A low bid on the garbage collection was submitted by Waste Pro for $9.74 a month per household and business for weekly pickup with the county providing a wheeled cart. They also submitted a bid of $8.34 a month for collection while providing a cart for each residence and business for $58.
Supervisors had earlier debated whether or not to utilize carts, noting that there were advantages as well as disadvantages.
Jimmie Moore, municipal marketing manager for Waste Pro, appeared before the board on Thursday, telling supervisors that he appreciated being considered for the contract.
Moore said his company had picked up additional cities and counties since his last visit here including the city of Macon, Harrison County and Lincoln County, among others.
"We are still picking up new customers and are ready to talk with you any time," he said. "If we can ever help any of y'all, please call me."
Moore had earlier suggested that supervisors consider providing the carts to residents, saying it would cut down on litter by keeping dogs and other stray animals from tearing into garbage bags before they are picked up.
Neshoba County increased its monthly garbage fee by $2.50 per household in January in an effort by the board to close a mounting $150,000 annual deficit. The board also eliminated exemptions for new retirees and the newly disabled after Dec. 29, 2011.
Coats said on Monday that the projected shortfall in the sanitation department for fiscal 2012, which ended Sept. 30, was expected to drop to about $40,000, which includes about nine months of collections at the higher rate.
"We may rethink contracting it out later but at this point in time, the cash flow is just not there," Coats said.
Supervisors on Monday also discussed the feasibility of changing the billing cycle for garbage fees from quarterly to monthly in an effort to cut down on delinquency.
Tax Assessor Mike Lewis, whose office mails the quarterly sanitation statements to residents, said there were pros and cons to going monthly.
Lewis said it would cost about $900 a month in postage to mail the notices in addition to personnel costs and the wear and tear on a printer.
"We were thinking that if they got a bill every month, they would pay it," Lewis said.
Supervisors have been working with Lewis' office in recent months to help ensure that those residents whose garbage is being collected are being billed.
County officials hope to eliminate those cases where multiple mobile homeowners utilize a single driveway and place their garage out collectively but only pay one fee, supervisors said.