HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The City of Hattiesburg may soon consider a change in the city's recycling program, after Mayor Johnny DuPree said several weeks ago he would not renew the current contract with private company Waste Pro for recycling.
'We've been researching what the current issues are and looking at what potential solutions are," said Hattiesburg Sustainability Committee member Miranda Grieder.
Grieder said that 12-person committee was created by the mayor in August, and they made a presentation to the city council at Monday's work session for solutions to what the mayor said was an expensive program with little participation.
The first major change to current recycling would be to move the program under the city's umbrella in the public works department.
Director of Public Works Larry Barnes said that would be cheaper than what the city is spending now. He said the proposed budget would be about 400,000 dollars to start then around 100,000 each year after that.
"I just think, overall, from the City of Hattiesburg being the fourth largest city in the state, that we can be the model for recycling here as we know it in the city," said Barnes.
The committee also proposed a sustainability officer- someone who would oversee the recycling efforts and get others on board. Although sources said that the city should currently have this position, it was knowingly never filled. The sustainability committee said that position would be key to the program's success and would possibly be the first of its kind in the state.
Committee members also said that curbside recycling would be put on hold, if the change was approved, in order to find a "resilient, fair" way to conduct that portion of the program.
"A vibrant recycling program shows that commitment, and I don't think we can afford- our future cannot afford- to ignore it," said Grieder.
Here's a breakdown of what the program would cost:
Non-recurring: (total: $353,050)
Tandem axel transport vehicle: $135,000
(3) 30 yard compartmented containers at $9,000/each: 27,000
(4) 40 yard containers at $10,000/each: 40,000
(12) 20 yard containers "poppers" at $5,000/each: 60,000
Video Cameras: 20,650
Roll-off trailer: 20,000
Concrete pad/attendant building: 12,900
Recurring: (total: $102,400)
(3) Recycling employees- driver, 2 site attendants: $62,400 (combined salary/year)
Sustainability officer: 40,000 (salary/year)
This item was not on the council's October 7 agenda as of Monday night.