HAMMOND — City residents will pay a slightly higher rate for solid waste and recyclables pickup under a new contract approved by the City Council on Tuesday.
The council agreed unanimously to authorize Mayor Mayson Foster to enter into an agreement with Progressive Waste, of Independence, to serve as the city’s solid waste collection company and with Livingston Waste, of Livingston, to gather recycled materials.
Residents now pay $9.12 a month for garbage pickup and $2.16 per month for disposal of recyclable materials. Under the new contract, the cost of garbage pickup will rise to $10.22 a month while the recycle pickup will drop to $1.85 per month. Foster said a five percent surcharge is added to the garbage service to cover various types of losses incurred with garbage service, bringing the total per household to $12.68.
Garbage and recyclables will still be picked up on Mondays and Thursdays for some areas of the city and on Tuesdays and Fridays in other areas. The pickup days will remain the same in the respective neighborhoods.
Foster said city administrators and council members had discussed changing to a once-a-week garbage service but decided to stay with the twice-a-week system.
“After talking to a lot of people, I had to agree that when our citizens have crab boils and crawfish boils, the garbage will begin to stink if left in the cans for a whole week,” Foster said.
The mayor added that once-a-week pickup would have been about $2 cheaper per customer, but said the small difference in cost was worth not having smelly garbage remaining for up to a week.
Wayne Lakers, representing Livingston Waste, said his company would consider using covered recycling bins even though they were not included in the contract. Open recycle bins are now in use.
In an unrelated matter, the council unanimously approved the purchase of 50 body cameras from Digital Ally Inc. for use by the Hammond Police Department.
Police Chief Roddy Devall told the council that the cameras would be compatible with cameras now in use in the city’s police units. Devall said his department has been experimenting with the body cameras for several months. The chief said the small cameras are easily adaptable to existing police uniforms.
Devall said money for the cameras will come from funds awarded to the Hammond Police Department derived from cash and goods seized in drug raids.