Hattiesburg considers privatization of sanitation department

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg City Council will soon hear proposals for the possible privatization of the city's sanitation department.

Council president Kim Bradley says this discussion comes at a time where current leases are nearing expiration as well as a continuing problem of equipment malfunctions with garbage trucks.

"We've had some issues with trucks, a lot of maintenance issues, warranties ran out," explained Bradley. "We're at a point now where we're going to have to reinvest or our lease is going to expire, we're going to have to enter into another agreement for more trucks and at the perfect time for the council and the administration to do due diligence and let's make sure that what we're offering is competitive to what the private sector can do."

Bradley said Hattiesburg residents currently pay about 17 dollars per month for trash pickup. What the council decides to do moving forward depends on the cost to both residents and the city

"Obviously if it's close, I  think the city should stay in the garbage business," said Bradley. "But if we can save money, Ii think that's something that we certainly need to look at."

Another concern that must be considered, according to Bradley, is any employees who would be out of a job if the city decides to privatize the sanitation department.

"You're talking 13 to 15 people that are driving these trucks," said Bradley. "We would try to find them another position, that would be our goal."

The council expects to receive proposals at their December 17 meeting.

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