Invoices for curbside service will be sent later this month |

Invoices for curbside service will be sent later this month

Annual bill to collect 2017 garbage fees will be due within 30 days

Summit County property owners will receive their annual bills for garbage collection services later this month, about six months after the bills for 2016 were due.

Republic Services is scheduled to send out invoices for 2017 solid waste collection by the end of July, according to Summit County Manager Tom Fisher. He said the annual $36 bill will be due within 30 days.

In 2015, the county decided to impose a new garbage pickup fee to cover the costs of adding capacity to the existing landfill and to reduce the county’s general fund subsidy for current service levels.

“According to our contract with Republic Services they are supposed to have those bills out before the end of July,” Fisher said. “It didn’t happen last year, but it is happening this year.”

When the bills were sent out for 2016 service in December, the county was inundated with complaints from property owners. About 45 days after the 20,000 invoices were delivered, approximately $300,000 worth of revenue had not been collected. Fisher said some of the issues stemmed from incorrect addresses or vacant lots being billed.

“Because of some of the communication problems we had, some of our residents didn’t know it was coming,” Fisher said. “We worked very hard over the first four months of the year to make sure we got the word out and we had billing addresses correct. We have had a great amount of success to make sure we are getting those bills to the right folks and making sure they are getting paid.”

As of Thursday, Fisher said that roughly $40,000 still needs to be collected from about 1,100 bills. However, Fisher noted that all of the homeowners’ associations had paid.

When the county’s property tax valuation notices are sent, he said they will include a newsletter containing a section about the 2017 billing. He said it is part of the county’s effort to improve communication about the fees.

“It will have an insert in it that provides a bunch of information about the bill itself and trash service. It will have a lot more information with it that the first bill did not have,” Fisher said. “Our Summit County employees also need to know about it because when people have questions they don’t always call the right place and we want to make sure everyone knows the information.”

Fisher said the language in the new bill is clearer because confusing references have been removed, such as the term garbage can, which several properties do not utilize. Fisher also emphasized that the bill covers services from 2017.

He added, “Last year we had a lot of procedures and fees associated with people who didn’t pay, but we didn’t implement a lot of that last time since we had gotten some things wrong.”

“We had a responsibility to do more education on that first round of billing and to give people a break if they didn’t understand what was going on. But, with this next round of billing there will be penalties associated with not paying on time,” Fisher said. “We expect that there will still be some issues along the way, but people were very active in contacting us and working with us to figure out those problems the first time.”