Carthage City Hall

Carthage City Hall is pictured on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

An expiring waste management contract has Carthage city officials looking at whether they want to, among other things, keep existing service or take it down to once-a-week pick-up.

The Carthage City Commission voted Monday to solicit bids for a new waste management contract, including asking potential providers to provide bids on:

  • continued twice-a-week pick-up service
  • once-a-week pick-up service
  • pick-up services with required trash cans or without

The city’s current contract with Waste Connections — which has been in place for a number of years and three different company name changes — is expiring next spring. City Manger Steve Williams asked commissioners to start thinking about their options earlier in July.

“If we’re going to change, we have to give them 180 days’ notice,” he said at the July 13 meeting. “That brings us back to November. So I just wanted to bring this to y’all’s attention so you can be thinking about which direction we want to go. We have several options. We can renegotiate the contract with them, we can go out for bid and allow other companies to come in and bid on this, and then we’ll need to decide do we want to keep exactly what we have now, do we want to go to cans, do we want to go to once-a-week pick-up? There’s benefits and downsides to all of those.”

Williams told officials that they are the only city contracting with Waste Connections that still does twice-a-week pick-up without cans. He said the city has addressed issues with service as they came up.

Williams told city officials he didn’t think switching providers would solve every issue and he wasn’t saying Waste Connections was doing a bad job.

“The biggest thing since I’ve been here was with the transfer station, and we’ve gotten those issues resolved for now,” Williams said. “But anytime they’ve changed who’s driving the route, you’ll have some issues and get those straightened out.

If the city requires trash cans, they would negotiate a contract that includes providing cans for all residents, Williams said.

Commissioners on Monday said they wanted to put the contract out to bid to see what options/prices they’d get.

“Only fair thing to do in my opinion would be to put it out to bid and see what’s out there,” Commissioner Jerry Hanszen said. “We can accept or refuse any and all bids.”

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Carthage native Meredith Shamburger has worked for the Panola Watchman since 2018. Before that, she worked at sister papers in Longview and Marshall; the Dallas Morning News; and The Daily Voice, a hyperlocal news company in Westchester County, New York.