Lamar County to test automated trash pickup

Lamar County to test automated trash pickup
Lamar County sanitation will not pickup trash on Jan. 1 (Photo source: WDAM archive)

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - People may soon stop collecting garbage in Lamar County.

Lamar County Supervisors voted 4-1 Thursday to purchase 4,860 curbside containers from Cascade Car Solutions to test automated trash pickup. The decision comes after months of discussion and some disagreement among supervisors.

"I voted against it from the get-go," said Steve Lampton, District 1 supervisor. "I didn't like the idea. The way I look at things, if that's the direction of the board, it's time for me to get on the train with the board."

The new garbage cans cost $45.90 each, a total of $223,074 for the trial. County Administrator Jody Waits said the county will pay cash for the cans with money from the county's reserve in sanitation.

Dale Lucas, District 5 supervisor, was the one vote opposed. Lucas said many of his constituents live in rural areas, far from the roadway, and dragging the cans could be difficult. Other residents said they worry about what could end up in landfill without any human oversight.

"He says you're going to get dead animals, batteries and all sorts of things," Lucas said, recalling a conversation with a constituent who once had automated trash pickup. "He said, 'In our neighborhood, when we had it, we kept all kind of stuff' because he said no one was able to look in."

Phillip Carlisle, District 4 supervisor, said that is likely an issue the county is already facing.

"Right, wrong or indifferent, it's happening now, and the only difference is they're picking it up with their own legs and they're own back," he said.

Previously, Waits said roughly 15,300 cans would be needed to cover the entire county, if it does switch permanently to automated pick up after the pilot program, which would cost $702,270.

"I think this is a mistake and a big injustice to the elderly people of our county," Lucas said.

The county will test pickup along two routes, and residents along those paths will be notified in advance. Waits said it will likely be six to eight months before the cans are in use.