Sheila Mills from Mills Garbage Collections addressed the 109 Board during the regular meeting on Wednesday to present concerns about money needed to run the garbage company as a result of growing delinquent accounts.
She said the company needs an increase in the garbage bill to help keep the business going. Currently, Bell County customers are paying $11.25 for garbage service. Mills is requesting a 75 cents increase, making the monthly bill $12.
Mills also showed an interest in raising the bill for businesses as well. She requested a 50 cents per yard increase on businesses. If approved by the 109 Board, the increase will not take place until January.
There has not been an increase in the garbage bills since 2010.
The main reason for the request involves the declining volume of customers the business is serving. There has been a constant decrease in customers because of the failure of payment, she said.
When asked what they have done to decrease the problem , Mills said the company sent out bills with late fees to get people to pay. There are also notices attached to the bills noting that non-payment will lead to court proceedings.
Bills are typically sent out after four months of non-payment, according to Mills. Service is terminated after five months.
“Right now, you’ve got 40 percent of the county that won’t pay their bill more than four months at a time,” said Mills.
Mills said they have talked to property owners about paying renters’ garbage bills, but many owners refuse to pay it. According to Mills and the board, the county’s ordinance states it is the property owner’s responsibility to pay the fee if the renter fails to do so.
Board members indicated the problem with delinquent accounts is the bigger issue, rather than an increase in the bill. The board is discussing the possibilities of getting the garbage bill added to the water bill. However, no decision was made during the meeting.
The board tabled the issue and requested Mills bring more information for the board to review.
A special called meeting is expected before the end of November to resolve the issue.
In other action, the Board:
* Received an update from Kevin Smith on the recycling center;
* Approved the enforcement report for September and October;
* Approved minutes from the previous meeting;
* Approved the financial report.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 208.