LUCEDALE, Miss. (WKRG) – Lucedale residents will have to slightly adjust weekly routines when a new company begins collecting the city’s waste on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
A1 McDuffie Sanitation, owned by Kenneth Havens in Semmes, Ala., was awarded the new garbage service contract by the city’s board of alderman earlier this month.
The previous contract with Waste Pro USA from Feb. 2019 cost the city about $190,900 annually. City residents will not see a rate change. The new contract is set-up for A1 to bill the city $14 per month for each customer served, the same garbage rate residents pay to City Hall.
Waste Pro’s bid for the new four-year contract was higher than A1’s. Elected officials in the city and neighboring areas have also expressed repeated concerns with the company’s performance in recent months.
In Lucedale, automated messages from City Hall notifying customers the collection trucks would finish the routes a day late became a near-weekly occurrence at times over the summer.
The Greene County Board of Supervisors asked Waste Pro representatives to meet with the board on a monthly basis to give updates and listen to any concerns of the supervisors. Board members said phone calls from their constituents were frequent with complaints their garbage cans were missed or the pick-up days were inconsistent week-to-week.
At various times, company staff told the board they have struggled with management changes, staffing shortages and collection trucks out of service.
“The service wasn’t up to snuff, but [the rate] was also gonna go up,” said Lucedale Mayor Doug Lee. “But we realize companies have employees that come and go and they have to train someone else on the routes, and it ain’t all the company’s fault. It’s just the way it is now.”
New garbage carts have arrived fresh from the Chicago manufacturer and will be distributed over nine routes on Wednesday, Jan. 25 and Thursday, Jan. 26 with a notice of all the changes.
Wednesday will also be the new weekly collection day starting Feb. 1.
“Most of the state holidays fall on a Friday or a Monday and people get confused on when the garbage truck runs, so we put it in the middle of the week to try to cut down on that,” Lee said.
The only holidays over the four year period that would require an alternate pick-up day would be Christmas 2024 and New Year’s Day 2025.
For one week only, customers will receive two collections: the last by Waste Pro on Monday, Jan. 30 and the first one by A1 on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
The new trucks tasked with collection have an automated arm to pick-up the carts and cameras to document the process.
Under the new contract, A1 is required to operate a phone line to receive service complaints from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Customer service representatives can review the footage to determine if the cart was out in time to be collected.
Customers are expected to have the carts at the curb by 6 a.m. on collection days with wheels facing away from the road.
Residential customers can request a second 96 gallon cart for an additional $10 per month, billed directly by A1.
Mayor Lee says Waste Pro is supposed to start picking up the old carts on Monday, Jan. 30 after its last garbage collection.