- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - The city of Natchez apparently has been underpaying Waste Pro USA, its trash collector, to the tune of $126,514 since July.

Waste Pro Division Manager Doug Atkins told The Natchez Democrat (https://bit.ly/1eScCzc ) that the company discovered two or three months ago that the city had not been paying the proper amount.

The discovery came after the company established a Mississippi-Louisiana Division and increased personnel.

“Now that the spotlight has been shined on our division, everything got a pencil put to it closer than it was before,” he said.

During the establishment of the new division and personnel changes, the once-a-year franchise fee Waste Pro pays the city also fell through the cracks, Atkins said.

The fee is an established percentage of the company’s commercial service revenues, or about $4,100. Mayor Butch Brown has suggested the city apply franchise fee toward what it owes Waste Pro.

Mayor Butch Brown said the city has been making payments based on the schedule outlined in the former contract it had with Waste Pro and not the current one, which began July 1.

The city awarded Waste Pro a contract for collection and disposal in November 2012. Waste Management, which was also vying for the contract, subsequently sued the city, disputing the contract award.

While the lawsuit was being reviewed by Circuit Court Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson, Waste Pro began service for the city.

The contract was voided, and Johnson ruled the city had to restart the process.

During the second round of requesting proposals from companies, the city elected to include a recycling program and new trashcans, increasing the price of the contract, which was again awarded to Waste Pro.

When the new contract began, increased monthly payments were not made.

City Clerk Donnie Holloway said Waste Pro did not invoice the city for the new amount, so the automated payment set up in the city’s accounting software each month never changed.

Atkins said he was checking into the invoice situation.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, https://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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