The Parish Council held a special meeting on Thursday, December 6, 2018, to discuss the award of a new solid waste contract. Parish President Rick Nowlin advised the Council that he had been contacted by Waste connections earlier in the day with a request to negotiate a new lease for its use of the Parish’s Transfer Station and requested that the Agenda be amended to include an item that would authorize him to negotiate the terms of said Lease. The item failed to be added for lack of a unanimous vote. Councilwoman Patsy Ward Hoover voted against the motion for lack of notice.
Representatives from De Soto Parish and Waste Connections were both on hand to address questions of the Parish Council. Mr. Roy Walters with Live Oak Environmental assured the Council that residents and independent haulers would be able to continue to deliver trash directly to the Parish-owned limb pit.
After discussions on the importance of the Transfer Station to the operations of Waste Connections, a vote to reconsider the amendment of the Agenda was made and the Council voted unanimously to allow the Parish President to negotiate the lease terms of the Transfer Station with Waste Connections.
Mr. James Veuleman with Waste Connections addressed the Council about his concerns for three employees of Waste Connections that would likely lose their jobs if the Parish votes to contract with De Soto Parish for the disposal of its garbage. Waste Connections currently hauls Parish trash to the landfill in Sabine Parish, which it operates.
Councilman Russell Rachal asked Mr. Veuleman whether garbage from other parishes was being handled at the Transfer Station. Mr. Veuleman admitted that garbage from Winn Parish, Red River, and the City of Natchitoches is compacted at the Natchitoches Parish Transfer Station. Winn Parish’s garbage is delivered to the Transfer Station 3 times a week. When asked if Waste Connections had obtained written consent from the Parish to do so, Mr. Veuleman admitted that they had been doing so for many years. Parish Assistant District Attorney, Ms. Shantel Wempren, pointed out that the current Agreement was entered into in 2014 and that the Parish had no record of any request having been made or permission granted under that Agreement. She also clarified that the entities whose trash was compacted at the Transfer Station is the City of Winnfield, Northwestern, Red River Waterway Commission and the City of Natchitoches.
The recommendation of the ad hoc committee is for the Parish to contract with De Soto Parish and Live Oak Environmental for the disposal of its solid waste. The projected savings is estimated at approximately $37,500/year in addition to savings of $300,000 in replacement costs of the compactors at the Transfer Station.
After a lengthy discussion, the Council tabled the agenda item to award the contract until its regularly held meeting on December 17th. The Parish’s current contract with Waste Connections expires on December 31st. Waste Connections has previously stated that it will remove all its equipment upon expiration of the contract if it is not awarded the new contract.