No Minor Contract

Determined to clean things up, New Orleans has awarded contracts totaling an estimated $25 million to two Louisiana-based, minority-owned waste firms. The Crescent City is promoting the contracts as part of Mayor Ray Nagin's “100 Day Initiative” to improve city services.

“Today demonstrates the power of one New Orleans where local companies are thriving and driving the rebuilding of this city,” Nagin said in announcing the contracts, which were awarded under an open, public- bid process. In January, Metro Disposal Inc. and Richard's Disposal Inc. will begin providing residents with semi-automated collection services twice per week versus once per week under the previous contract with Waste Management. The companies will provide commercial collection as well.

In his recent 2007 budget address, Nagin said that the city will not raise sanitation fees for residents, despite the increased price tag, emphasizing the level of service that he expects to receive from the two new companies. According to him, the contracts call for performance evaluations with stiff penalties as well as weekly and monthly reports generated by global positioning systems technologies.

During the address, Nagin also said that he expects the city to have finished cleaning up debris resulting from Hurricane Katrina — excluding demolition and reconstruction debris — by the end of the year. As of the beginning of October, an estimated 85 percent had been removed with the assistance of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.