After new business was brought up by Councilwoman Kisha Mische-Jeffrey, the Oak Grove City Council and Mayor Theresa Jarvis had a lengthy discussion regarding issues surrounding the trash disposal contract the council approved to renew with Bobby Outlaw Disposal Service.
During Tuesday night’s regular council meeting, Outlaw Disposal owner Wendell Outlaw accused the mayor of obstruction as he continues seeing delays in receiving the new contract the council approved almost six months ago.
Outlaw said he is still waiting for Jarvis to hand him the new contract.
On Sept. 3, the council voted to allow Outlaw Disposal to continue its services for the next 20 years, but he hasn’t received the contract.
Outlaw shared with the council that he has contacted city hall and spoken with Oak Grove City Clerk Angela Comperry, asking when he would receive the contract.
“(Comperry) responded by saying she wasn’t sure, ‘We are still trying to figure out how to separate the contract from the ordinance and you may need to get an attorney to speak with our attorney about the contract,’ ” Outlaw said.
Outlaw shared that he was shocked to hear that response from Comperry because the contracts he has received from the city for trash disposal since 1990 have always been written into the ordinance.
Outlaw went on to say that he responded to Comperry asking that Jarvis give him a phone call to discuss the issue.
Later, Outlaw said he had then spoken over the phone with both Jarvis and Oak Grove City Attorney Mark Gilbert during a conference call.
“What Mayor Jarvis stated — that she’s still not settled with the billing portion of (the contract). She wants me to take the residential billing, and I said, ‘That’s not even up for discussion. I’m not going to do it,’ ” Outlaw said to the council.
Currently, the residential billing for trash disposal is done through the Oak Grove Utilities Department. However, in September, Outlaw Disposal took over billing only for commercial businesses.
“I express concern that it’s been this length of time and you still haven’t produced a contract for me to sign,” Outlaw said to Jarvis during the council meeting.
“I’m concerned about that, and I’ll also tell you, I think what we’re entering now is obstruction because there’s a contract that’s already been approved, and now you’re holding it up because you still want to negotiate billing terms.”
Jarvis responded by explaining that when Outlaw’s former contract with the city expired and had not been renewed, by law, the city had to put a temporary 15-month contract in effect with Outlaw while the city considered renewing a contract with Outlaw Disposal or another business.
“So, we have until December to redo your contract because you’re still on that 15-month exentsion,” Jarvis said. “And, when we did your franchise agreement, we didn’t even do it right because our ordinance says five years. We did 20. So, you’re kind of outside of and in violation of the ordinance right now.”
Outlaw claimed that he was never told that information. He also added that he does not trust the mayor.
“I have never said this about a city mayor, and we (Outlaw Disposal) have been out here since the mid 60s — I don’t trust Mayor Jarvis,” Outlaw said.
“You sit in here and told me — and how many times did I bug you all about this contract — ‘Well we’ve got to have it for city funding.’ You never said it was due to an extension or an ordinance violation. You never said that, mayor,” Outlaw said to Jarvis.
“I wouldn’t have signed this contract. If I knew what you’re telling me today, I wouldn’t have signed it. Because, I don’t have — ‘Oh, we’ve got until December 2020’ — No, this has already been approved. I didn’t know until tonight that there was an issue.”
Jarvis responded by saying that there had been several issues surrounding the contract after it was approved and the city is currently working to get it right before presenting the new contract to Outlaw.
Gilbert added that, by law, because the city missed the renewal deadline for the previous contract with Outlaw Disposal, the city is not legally allowed to put a new trash disposal contract into effect until December.
“Since Outlaw Disposal started coming to the city, we have dealt with the same issues this whole time. We’re just trying to get it right. It’s OK that you don’t agree with me,” Jarvis said.
“You’re not trying to get it right,” Outlaw said in response. “The only way that we’re going to be able to get right is ending up in the court.”
The council unanimously decided to send the issue surrounding the trash disposal contract as well as the solid waste contract to the Oak Grove Committee of the Whole for review.
A special-called committee meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13.
The council also unofficially agreed that following the review by the committee, the council would like to amend the ordinance to approving the city’s trash disposal contracted agreement to 20 years.
Councilwoman Janet Edwards requested that prior to the committee meeting that Outlaw email all of the council members with a list of all the concerns he has around the issue and that he be present for the meeting.
Edwards requested Jarvis and Gilbert also send a list with their own concerns surrounding the issue. Both parties agreed.
Following the meeting, Outlaw shared that he is waiting to see what actions the committee will take at the special-called meeting. He said if the issue is not fixed, he will take the city to court.
Outlaw added that he will also likely request an external audit be conducted on the city.
The Eagle Post will continue coverage of the issue in the coming weeks.
In other council business
- The council unanimously approved the second reading of an amendment to establish two regular city council meetings a month on the first and third Tuesday. All regular meetings will now begin at 6 p.m.
- The council unanimously approved a resolution accepting a grant of $120,300 to widen Ken