The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury decided Tuesday to put the company that handles residential trash pickup parishwide on notice: If service doesn’t improve soon, the parish will start levying fines or terminate its contract.

The police jury’s threat was fueled by more than 50 complaints the parish has received the past six months from residents who say Progressive Waste Solutions has routinely missed routes, damaged trash cans that residents then have to pay to have replaced, and has drivers who have damaged mailboxes due to careless operation of garbage trucks.

“We’re paying this company fairly well to provide service, and they’re not meeting the responsibilities spelled out in the contract,” Juror Justin Cox told the jury after making his motion to place the company on notice. “This has gone on too long. They keep citing problems, like them having high (employee) turnover rates. That’s something for them to figure out so they can provide the service the parish is paying them for.”

The police jury’s discussion Tuesday was similar to one city leaders in Port Allen had last week about the same company.

There, it was Port Allen Councilman Garry Hubble who was asking officials to re-evaluate having Progressive Waste Solutions serve as the city’s third-party garbage collector.

Port Allen city leaders also complained of missed routes and poor service.

Hubble wants the city to solicit bids from competing companies before Port Allen’s contract with Progressive expires this summer.

Charles McClain, a division manager for Progressive, tried to downplay the parish’s residential complaint log, pointing out that it was only 50 complaints out of the more than 6,000 households the company services in Pointe Coupee Parish.

McClain said the company has tried to address complaints in a timely manner.

“And I know the company is putting policies in place moving forward to take care of the issues brought forth tonight,” he said.

Company representatives are scheduled to address parish leaders at the jury’s first meeting in May.

“That’s the problem. We tell them about stuff and the problem improves and then in a few months it gets right back to the way it was,” Cox said. “We have right over 50 complaints here, and that’s not all of them. To me, that’s 50 good reasons to terminate the contract.”

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