Trash talk takes over Pointe Coupee Police Jury meet

The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury decided Tuesday it will hold a special meeting sometime this month to consider what the parish should do with revenue collected within the New Roads city limits from a 1-cent solid waste tax.

Juror Cornell Dukes asked the jury to hold the meeting as New Roads prepares to break away from the jury’s garbage contract with Progressive Waste Solutions for residential trash pickup.

The parish has decided to forge ahead with a new five-year deal with Progressive, without New Roads, on Feb. 1.

New Roads Mayor Robert Myer informed the jury in September the City Council had given him the authority to broker its own deal for trash service.

Dukes said he believes the city’s intentions will mean “double taxation” for New Roads residents who will still have to pay the parish’s solid waste tax along with whatever user fees are attached to the city’s own garbage deal.

“I think this matter is serious enough to ask the jurors this impacts to have a meeting to discuss how they plan to proceed in terms of sales tax dollars (so) we can come back to the full body with sound decision on how we want to handle things going forward to prevent double taxation on the citizens of New Roads,” Dukes said during Tuesday night’s meeting.

New Roads Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Daisy and Councilwoman Bernadine St. Cyr defended the city’s decision to walk away from the parish’s garbage contract at Tuesday night’s Police Jury meeting.

Their defense came as Dukes expressed doubts the city was financially stable enough to sustain garbage service should the parish be hit by a natural disaster — such as a hurricane.

The juror also reminded Daisy and St. Cyr about the city’s previous attempt to take on trash service on its own back in 2000 under the administration of former Mayor Sylvester Muckelroy.

“The city of New Roads had a contract but had to ask us to take them back because it was too much for them to handle,” Dukes said. “I don’t think it’s fair to just leave out and walk back in when you see it doesn’t work.”

St. Cyr retorted, “You can bet that the city of New Roads will take care of our citizens. We have the right to make our own decisions. That’s what we’re doing. We have to have emergency plans in place just like y’all.”

Daisy reiterated that New Roads’ decision to opt out of the parish contract was driven by the Police Jury’s disregard for inviting city officials to the table when the parish was negotiating its new contract with Progressive.

“We expect the jurors to come to us when pertinent issues affect our citizens,” he told Dukes. “Don’t assume because you think it’s OK that everything is fine and OK with us, too. We have discussions and opinions ourselves. We are a major part of the parish. Our voice should have been heard.”

Dukes extended an invitation Tuesday night to New Roads officials to attend the special meeting concerning the solid waste tax revenue.

Jury President Melanie Bueche said the date that meeting will take place will be decided after consulting the parish’s attorney about his availability.