By late summer, garbage pickup and recycling in Harrison County could be in the hands of another waste company.
Waste Pro has handled the job for the past five years. The Harrison County Utility Authority serves 68,000 households and pays $8.3 million each year for garbage pickup.
However, board members recently voted to accept bids from Pelican Waste and Team Waste. One thing is certain: Under any new six year contract, costs are going up.
“The increase at this point, depending on the options, could be 15 or 20 percent higher," said Executive Director Donald Scharr.
But, service could be reduced to once a week pickup to lower costs.
“Once we get into the negotiations, I think a determination can then be made as to what criteria we'll use; whether it's once a week, twice a week,” board member Marlin Ladner explained.
Waste Pro was late in submitting a bid and was disqualified. But that doesn't mean the clock has run out on the company entirely.
“Our current contract with Waste Pro gives the authority the option to extend their work for one additional year," said Scharr. "Certainly one of the considerations would be to keep those costs down for one additional year at the current rates.”
Gulfport city leaders have considered going out on their own for garbage pickup in the city.
“With this contract coming up, we thought it was a good time to take a step back, get out own numbers and compare then with HCUA numbers," said board member Mayor Billy Hewes. "We're sharing them across the board and no one is off in their corner doing anything,” Hewes said.
Utility board members have scheduled interviews with Team Waste and Pelican Waste for next Thursday. If one of those companies is chosen by the board, actual negotiations on a contract will then begin.