The feud between Jackson City Council members and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba centers around the validity of the Mayor warding Richard's Disposal, Inc., a trash pick-up contract for Jackson after the Council voted against Richard's Disposal. Garbage pick-up by Richard's was underway in the Bel-Air neighborhood, Monday, Apr. 11, 2022. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

The City of Jackson on Thursday announced garbage collection will be halted city-wide, indefinitely because of a long-running dispute between Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and the city council.

In a press release, Lumumba’s office said that “After six months under an emergency contract and without compensation, Richard’s Disposal will cease all city-wide garbage collection” after Saturday.

New Orleans-based Richard’s Disposal has been collecting garbage in Jackson since April, after Waste Management’s contract with the city expired. Lumumba and the council deadlocked over who had the lowest and best bid for collection. Lumumba issued an emergency contract for Richard’s to collect, but the City Council rejected the contract and has refused to pay the company. The two sides have been fighting in court, and Richard’s has sued the city and says it is owed nearly $5 million for collection to-date.

“It is unfortunate that the Jackson City Council has failed to ratify the executed contract and allow for payment for services rendered,” Lumumba said in a statement. “The citizens of Jackson have paid and continue to pay for the solid waste collection, and they have received the services but, due to inaction by the Jackson City Council, my administration is legally unable to pay Richard’s for services rendered.”

Mississippi’s capital city is only recently recovering from a water crisis that included nearly two months of boil-water notices and a citywide water outage that forced the state to declare an emergency and step in.

The press release from Lumumba’s office recommended that residents help manage the halt in garbage pickup by using reusable containers and “other sustainable household products and goods,” freezing seafood waste until pickup resumes and continuing to drop off household hazardous waste at 1570 University Boulevard.

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Geoff Pender serves as senior political reporter, working closely with Mississippi Today leadership on editorial strategy and investigations. Pender brings 30 years of political and government reporting experience to Mississippi Today. He was political and investigative editor at the Clarion Ledger, where he also penned a popular political column. He previously served as an investigative reporter and political editor at the Sun Herald, where he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team for Hurricane Katrina coverage. Originally from Florence, Mississippi, Pender is a journalism graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi and has received numerous awards throughout his career for reporting, columns and freedom of information efforts.