Beginning Jan. 17, residents of the City of Petal will see a slight change in their trash pickup service, as WastePro will no longer pick up trash that is outside of the “blue top” trash cans.
In a Jan. 10 Facebook Live post, Mayor Tony Ducker said the reason for the change is to make the cost of service more equitable for all residents.
“We do have people that go to Lowe’s, buy a can and put it out, and aren’t paying for the service,” he said. “Now, I want to get a deal just like anybody else, but at the same time, there’s 80-year-old ladies … putting one bag of trash in their can.
“They shouldn’t have to subsidize someone who isn’t paying, and ultimately, as a business that’s what happens. That’s the same thing with any other business – if something gets stolen or broken or whatever, it’s passed along to those that are paying. So we want to hold the line with the price as much as possible, and this is one of the ways to do it.”
Any residents who do not have a can with a blue top should call the Petal Water Department at (601) 544-6981. An extra blue top can be obtained from the water department at a cost of $9 per month.
“I know sometimes you say, ‘well, I would only need that extra can every so often,’ and that’s a decision you’ll need to make,” Ducker said. “We’re already getting phone calls to deliver cans.”
When Ducker was elected to his former seat as Ward 5 Alderman in 2009, trash service in Petal was approximately $20 a month. Shortly thereafter, officials were able to move some funds in the budget to lessen that fee to $17.
When the city privatized the service with WastePro in 2013, the charge went down to $15.25. Currently, trash service runs $18.75 per month.
Ducker said WastePro is actually one of the less expensive contractors that have bid for the city’s trash pickup. Other bids – including three received by the city shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic – have come in that would make the fee $25 or $26 per month.
“That’s what they would be charging us, and we always have to go a little higher than that,” Ducker said. “That’s something that we’re looking at – are we going to go up $7 or $8 in two years? Well, no.
“If I’m half decent with your money, we would be able to phase in any rate increases, but understand, the cost of doing business is going up. Now, if we’re real good at some of this stuff, maybe we can take a little off of the sewer; maybe we can take a little off somewhere else and it doesn’t hit our people so bad.”
Ducker cited inflation as one reason the trash fee has gone up over the years. For instance, the blue top cans previously costed WastePro $50 each; that price is currently $77.
“That literally happened overnight, so at some point the rubber’s got to meet the road,” Ducker said. “That being said, we’ve got a contract that says you’re charge me X amount per (can).
“So they charge less for an extra can, understanding you typically wouldn’t have as much trash in that can.”