Metro Council to vote on deal with Baum Environmental to operate tire shredder

    The Metro Council is scheduled to vote at its meeting later today on an agreement that would bring a long-awaited tire shredder—which, originally, was to have been operated by the parish Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control district—to the city-parish.

    Under the terms of the proposed deal, Baum Environmental Group, a local environmental services company that specializes in stormwater compliance and erosion control services, would operate the machine for the city-parish at no cost. In return, Baum would be allowed to keep the shredded tire material, which it can then sell to recyclers.

    Metro Council member Matt Watson brokered the deal after the MARC decided it no longer wanted to operate the shredder program—a decision that came months after the state health department secured a $660,000 federal grant to purchase the shredder, which will help eliminate the used and abandoned tires that serve as breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes.

    The MARC board of directors changed its mind about operating the shredder earlier this year, after the executive director, Todd Walker, resigned under pressure from the Metro Council. Council members had been concerned about excessive spending by the agency, which had planned to build out a new facility on unused property to house the equipment.

    Under the new agreement, Baum would operate the shredder on unused space MARC owns near the airport, but would not build the high-dollar facility originally planned under the previous MARC leadership.

    Watson, who has been advocating for the shredder as a way to eliminate the abandoned tires that contribute to blight in many underserved neighborhoods, says he is hopeful the council will approve the deal today but has not counted votes so cannot say for sure whether it will pass.   

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