Commission offers amnesty on delinquent garbage bills - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Commission offers amnesty on delinquent garbage bills

September 22, 2005

Ashburn- Garbage collection in Turner County has been causing a stink for county commissioners.

"We're going to straighten out the garbage situation. We've been losing $30,000 to $40,000 a year in garbage, and the county just can't afford it," says commission chairman Deral Dukes.

There are about 200 people who owe $500 or more in trash fees, that's about $277,000 the county could be using for other things. County officials estimate they are owed another $100,000 by those whose bills aren't as high.

"We've given everybody an opportunity to come in for a 30-day period and pay their garbage, and we knock off the penalty and the interest on it, which amounts to about a third of most people's bill," Dukes says.

Commission chairman Deral Dukes says the county closed it's landfill in 1984 and pays a garbage collection company to haul away the trash, but it's up to residents to pay the county back. He says if they don't pay it now, the county will collect it later when property taxes are due.

"If a homeowner's got houses, and he's renting his houses, and that renter is not paying, when we put it on the tax it's going to fall back on the homeowner. It would behoove them to come on in and pay it while they can get the 33.13% off."

Because the problem has gotten so bad, Dukes say the county will change it's policy next year and let residents sign their own contracts with collection companies.

"Let them do their own billing, their own collecting, and then if people just don't want to pay it then, they'll just deal with the garbage people."

It's a solution commissioners say will save them money and allow them to wash their hands of garbage collection.

Residents have until October 5th to take advantage of the garbage collection amnesty. Those who pay after that will not be eligible for the discount.

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