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$2.6M in garbage fees owed by residents

 

NATCHEZ —Adams County property owners who collectively owe more than $2.6 million in garbage collection fees may be held accountable for making payments, officials said.

Adams County Administrator Joe Murray said county residents currently have a total of $2,662,789.03 owed for garbage collection fees. The fee for trash collection per household as of Oct. 1, 2016 is $15 per household per month or $168 per year if paid in advance, Murray said.

Unlike utility services, officials said the county is legally required to provide trash collection services even when fees have not been paid and cannot discontinue trash pickup unless the service is canceled for an unoccupied residence.

Murray said the problem has persisted for decades, adding the amount owed continues to climb each year.

During a Monday meeting of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, some supervisors suggested adding trash collection to the ad valorem tax millage instead of billing residents individually to resolve the issue but did not present a motion to that effect.

“By law, we have to collect garbage,” Supervisor David Carter said. “… When you put it on ad valorem, people like myself will pay a little bit more on their taxes but right now we’re paying it anyway because we have to make up for the shortfall of not collecting fees.”

Murray said the Local Government Debt Collection Setoff Act, Mississippi House Bill 991, which passed in March would authorize the county to collect debts against a person’s income tax refund as of Jan. 1.

Murray said even when a person is deceased any debt they may have for trash collection would still be owed.

“Any outstanding fine or fee due to the county can never be forgiven,” Murray said. “Even if someone passes, we still can’t remove the debt. That is one reason that the figure will continue to rise. The county can’t forgive any debt without proof that it wasn’t owed.”

Those who lease property are also held accountable for ensuring those debts are paid in the form of a tax lien on their property while those who pay rent on a property are held jointly liable for their sanitation bill, Murray said.

Payment of all delinquent garbage fees is also a requirement for receiving or renewing a vehicle tag, he said.

Murray said those who have questions or need to cancel their trash collection service should contact the sanitation department at 601-445-7903.

In other matters during Monday’s meeting of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, the board:

4Unanimously approved a resolution declaring the state of emergency for Mississippi River flooding is resolved.

4Unanimously ratified the lifting of a burn ban in Adams County.

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