Man claims he doesn’t owe garbage bill

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2000

An Adams County resident sees no reason why he must use county-provided trash service to pick up his household waste. Sammy Corley, of 894 Liberty Road, is appealing to Adams County Court a fall 1999 county justice court decision requiring him to pay more than more than $800 in delinquent garbage fees, court costs, not including attorney’s fees.

He claims the county has never picked up his garbage, so he should not have to pay for the service.

&uot;If I don’t use it, I don’t think I should have to pay for it,&uot; Corley said.

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His appeal comes in the midst of an ongoing effort by the Adams County Board of Supervisors to collect overdue garage bills from residents.

Recent figures indicated about 1,000 people were behind in their garbage bills, totaling a loss of around $500,000 to the county.

County supervisors believe state law permits them to charge all residents for the service and have begun to takes some of the more delinquent offenders, like Corley, to court.

The board is required to offer the garbage service, said board attorney Marion Smith.

&uot;If the service is offered you have to pay for it, and it is offered to everybody in the community,&uot; Smith said.

So far the county has only taken three or four people to court but plans to take others to court, said Adams County Administrator Charlie Brown.

The money owed from that group has yet to be collected, he added.

Corley, who has lived at his Liberty Road home for 21 years, is upset the county never asked if he wanted the garbage service.

&uot;My issue is they say you’re going to pay it whether you use it or not,&uot; he said. &uot;There’s a lot of people who are upset about this. They found an easy way to get money from us.&uot;

Corley said he has other ways to dispose of his household waste rather than sending it a landfill.

He said he burns the majority of his paper waste to heat his residence and recycles plastic, glass and metal.

He places other items in a gully on his property that cannot been seen from the road.

Corley said certain aspects of state law permit him to dispose of household waste in the way. &uot;The law says I can do that as long as it’s non-toxic,&uot; he said.

But Conrad Stacks, an engineer with the state Department of Environmental Quality, said the law Corley is talking about at does not cover all household waste or garbage.

&uot;People say, ‘Well it’s my property,’ and we understand that,&uot; Stacks said. But &uot;what you do on your property may affect ground water on my property next door.&uot;

And people cannot eliminate all their garbage through recycling, Stacks said. He cited a study of a family who tried the experiment but was unsuccessful in eliminating all its household waste.

&uot;You can not recycle 100 percent of the waste in a household,&uot; he said. &uot;They got it down pretty small but as some point they couldn’t recycle it. It had to be generated.&uot;

The Adams County Board of Supervisors charges each county resident $9 per month for garbage service whether the resident places garbage on the roadside for twice-weekly pickup or not. The county has developed payment plans for those who could not pay their bill amount all at one time, Smith said. He said the issue also comes down to an ethical question.

&uot;It’s just a question of people not picking up their fair share of the cost,&uot; he said. &uot;The county just can’t let people continue to ride free when other people are paying their bills.&uot;

Corley will appeal his case to county court March 8.