Waste Pro addresses Memphis contract issues for missed trash pickups

Problem Solvers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — WREG has been airing images of overflowing trash for weeks and hearing from frustrated homeowners who want one thing: their trash picked up.

Those residents are finally starting to see results.

Waste Pro, a contractor that services about 20 percent of the city including Cordova and Hickory Hill, said trash levels increased by more than 30 percent during the pandemic, and they can’t keep up.

As a result, Memphis officials said they’ve stopped paying Waste Pro and are evaluating their contract with the company.

WREG also evaluated that contract and uncovered a clause that says “the city may cancel or terminate this agreement… as a result of contractor’s failure to provide the goods and services specified under this agreement… and contractor has failed to cure such breach within 20 days.”

“All options are on the table,” city council member Frank Colvett said.

Colvett said he and solid waste director Al Lamar met with Waste Pro officials Friday morning.

“We asked first for the list of vehicles going to the area,” Colvett said. “We walked out, and director Lamar and I laid eyes on the trucks.”

He said Waste Pro brought in extra crews to help with the issue.

In a statement to WREG, Waste Pro officials confirmed that move but also criticized the Mayor Jim Strickland’s decision to withhold payments.

“Economically, this makes no sense and impacts residential service. It is a contract issue that most communities are working out with their service providers,” Waste Pro senior vice president Ron Pecora said via email.

Councilmember Rhonda Logan said she’d been inundated with calls and complaints.

“We’re going to have to look at reducing rates, giving some type of credit and coming to citizens to let them know what the plan is,” she said.

WREG asked Waste Pro officials how much they think the city owes them. They did not want to comment, and neither did the city. We submitted an open records request to get that information and will let you know as soon as we find out.

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