NEW ROADS — Pointe Coupee Parish Administrator Jim Bello told the Police Jury on Tuesday night that should it let New Roads opt out of the parish’s 5-year contract for residential trash pickup with Progressive Waste Solutions, the Police Jury would be under no obligation to share a portion of its annual revenue from its Solid Waste sales tax with the city.
Bello’s announcement eased the minds of many jurors who feared the city might attempt to reap a share of the parish’s 1-cent Solid Waste Tax, which generates about $500,000 annually, should New Roads broker its own garbage contract separate from the parish’s.
“That’s very good news,” Jury President Melanie Bueche said during Tuesday night’s meeting.
The jury’s apprehensions that New Roads might seek legal action to secure the Solid Waste funds stems from the city’s recent attempt to block the parish from imposing a parish tax increase on New Roads residents to pay for street and road improvements.
A state district judge dismissed the city’s lawsuit, claiming the city failed to prove it should be exempt from the full amount of the road tax because New Roads doesn’t have its own independent system of street paving.
Jurors are concerned that New Roads pulling out of the Progressive contract could spike user rates for the nearly 10,000 households the solid waste company services.
New Roads accounts for about 1,800 homes, officials said.
According to its contract, Progressive agreed to charge the parish $12.48 monthly per household for twice-a-week service based on the parishwide household count.
New Roads Mayor Robert Myer, in a Sept. 4 letter to Bueche, said the New Roads City Council had adopted a resolution giving him the authority to advertise for bids for residential trash service in the city limits.
Myer said previously the city leaders took issue with the fact the parish never reached out to them during its negotiations with Progressive to enter into its 5-year deal, which became effective June 1.
“Although it has been the practice of the jury for umpteenth years to negotiate for all the citizens regardless of where they live, we’re going to now ask them annually if they want us to negotiate on their behalf,” Bello said during Tuesday night’s meeting. “We sent certified letters out this week. Once we get them back we’ll move forward with the contract.”
Juror Cornell Dukes said should the jury allow New Roads to opt out the deal, the parish should make it difficult for the city to return should the burden of maintaining its own garbage system be too much to handle.
“It’s not fair to the rest of the parish to have a municipality opt out and then let them back in because they see the burden is too great to bare,” Dukes said Tuesday night. “We get out best rates from garbage contractors if we stay together.”
But Juror Albert Dukes interjected, “We’re going to have to let them back in if they want to. We can’t have garbage just lying around in the streets of our (parish) seat.”