SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – After nearly a year without a recycling contractor amid multiple delays, the Shreveport City Council has approved a contract with a new vendor.

In a vote of 4 to 3 during Tuesday’s meeting, the council approved a resolution authorizing the new five-year contract with C. Edwards Concepts, LLC, with the requirement that Charlette Edwards secure a $1 million surety bond that guarantees the performance of the contract.

Under the contract, the City of Shreveport will pay C. Edwards Concepts $158,333 per month for bi-weekly curbside pickup services.

The approval comes after multiple delays as questions were raised about owner Charlette Edwards’ qualifications and whether she and her public health consulting firm are equipped for the job due to a lack of prior experience specifically with recycling services.

Edwards was also the only contractor that responded to the city’s request for proposals.

“So it came down to this is who we have,” Dist. B Councilwoman LeVette Fuller said following the vote. “Are we going to continue to debate? Or continue to postpone this indefinitely? We’re not serving a purpose. But with the surety bond in place, I personally felt comfortable going ahead and saying, ‘Fine, let’s let a new contractor give it a shot with the recycling,’ because everyone else has said at that rate, it was not affordable for them to take it on.”

Edwards did not address the council before the vote, but a pastor and a personal friend spoke on her behalf.

“Personally, the reason I actually felt comfortable voting on it today,” Fuller said, “considering that we’re working with a new contractor who has no experience in this particular field, while she has other people who have spoken to her character to her intelligence and to her many degrees and such, we still need to make sure we are covering the city as far as getting the work actually done. Because what she doesn’t have is the trucks, the employees, the experience.”

Among other things, the contract requires the company not to miss more than one percent of the bi-weekly pickups. Any missed collections must be picked up the next day. The city expects to pay for the contract through a $2.50 monthly per month household recycling fee.

The company will also be required to “provide an adequate number of vehicles meeting standards and inspection requirements as set forth by the laws of the State for regular municipal waste collection services.”

Curbside recycling services in Shreveport have been suspended since October 2020, when the city’s contract with Republic Services, the company that previously handled curbside pickup, expired.

Edwards must secure the performance bond before she can sign the contract. There is no word yet on when recycling will begin under the new contract.