Monday’s Greenville City Council special budget session sparked a voting difference between the council members about charging for trash pickup.
The City of Greenville, compared to other cities throughout the Delta, has never charged to pick up trash in the city, but that’s about to change.
In Cleveland, residents are charged $24 a month and it is included in their water bill. That bill also includes water and sewer, which is determined by usage, and mosquito abatement, which cost $7.
In Indianola, residents are charged $14.95 a month and it is included in their water bill. That bill also includes water and sewer, which is determined by usage, and mosquito abatement, which cost $1.75.
A motion to charge $4 per month for trash pick up came to the council and found a second. Councilman Tasha Bailey and Councilman Bill Boykin voted yes. Councilman Al Brock and Vice Mayor Lurann Thomas abstained. Councilman James Wilson and Councilman Lois Hawkins voted no. Mayor Errick Simmons broke the tie by voting yes for an increase of $4 for trash pick up.
“Our duty and responsibility is to pick the trash up on time and the responsibility of our residents to understand that the cost is placed on their bill so we can do what we can efficiently. So if we miss someone’s house, they can call us tell us we aren’t doing our job,” said Mayor Simmons.
James Wilson wanted to convince the council that charging citizens at this very moment would not be a good thing. He said wanted to find another way for people and businesses to be held accountable for their trash.
“We do need to start charging people for trash pickup but I don’t think we need to charge people all at once,” said Wilson, referring to the possible increase of water and sewer rates as well.
Agreeing with Wilson, Councilman Al Brock said that he does believe that the community has to understand that they are struggling to keep basic services like sewer, water and trash operating because of the EPA requirements to upgrade all of those systems, but the timing for increasing both water, sewage and trash is difficult all at once.
Councilman Bill Boykin agreed with both but said he thinks servicing trash pick up for free will hurt the city financially.
“It’s been a convenience and it’s been a big help because we’ve always offered the services because we were financially able to but now we’re no,” Boykin said. “So I think we should charge people for the services we offer.”
According to the ordinance, Greenville residents should be aware they shouldn’t put an excessive amount of trash in their front yard or curb and landlords of rental properties or apartments should be fined if they have excessive trash or illegal dumping not the resident.
The new fee will go into effect Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year.