Failure to meet contract cited as motivation
On Monday evening the St. Charles Parish Council unanimously passed a resolution to withhold any payment to Waste Management of Louisiana, LLC.
Introduced by Councilmen Dickie Duhe and Ganesier "Ram" Ramchandran, the resolution suspends payment until better service is performed. Ramchandran said that he was acting in accordance with his constituents' wishes.
"This is typical in contracts," said Ramchandran, as he hoped this would compel Waste Management to meet the terms laid out in the February 20, 2001 contract, adding, "If there is any scraps of debris in a garbage bag, they refuse to take it."
The debate over who picks up what type of waste has continually been a thorn in the side of St. Charles Parish residents, as Waste Management only picks up garbage and trash, while FEMA is contracted to pick up debris.
"There is a finger pointing between Army Corps and Waste Management with the citizens, whom we charge, that are not getting the services they deserve," said Ramchandran.
"Mr. ‘Ram,' I have the same problem in my district, said Council President Brian Fabre, echoing Ramchandran's claims. This resolution at comes a particularly bad time for Waste Management, as their contract is set to expire at the end of the month.
Councilman Desmond Hilaire questioned the legality of the move. Chief Administrative Officer Tim Vial responded, "If the council passes the resolution, we will look farther into it." After which, the council passed the measure unanimously, with Councilmen Dickie Duhe and Clayton "Snookie" Faucheux absent.
While council members spoke of trash that has not been picked up, Waste Management officials see the dispute differently. "Waste Management disagrees with the content of the resolution. We have been on schedule for months regarding garbage collections," said Waste Management spokesperson Rene Faucheux. "In regards to trash collection, we have been on schedule on the east bank for months for sometime. On the west bank, we inherited a large volume of trash that was left on the ground from a subcontractor hired by the parish."
"We are now on schedule on the west bank as well." "We have more equipment collecting trash now in St. Charles Parish than before Katrina," said Faucheux, adding that they have added equipment to meet the population growth post-Katrina.
As to why the two sides seem have polar opposite opinions of the state of waste removal in the parish, Faucheux was unsure. On the council's decision, he said, "We are committed to meeting the terms of our contract."
Also passed was an Act of Dedication for Riverbend Estates Phase 2 Subdivision. Public Work Director Greg Bush commented that developer R Bend II, LLC has met all of the requirements for the housing development in St. Rose.