By Linda Dillman
Madison Township residents setting out trash cans but not paying for the service could soon find themselves deep in debt to both the hauler and the township.
A Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio consortium-negotiated contract with Local Waste Services—if approved by the Madison Township trustees—will soon replace an expiring contract and hold more power in collecting delinquent accounts.
“It’s a status quo contract,” said attorney Joseph Durham.
What is different is the way penalties and fees are assessed against property owners who don’t pay their trash bill. A non-payment lien—which includes a regular service charge, a billing fee and up to $200 in administrative costs—will be part of the process.
The hauler is still responsible for billing, but when an account becomes delinquent and multiple notices from Local Waste Services go ignored, the name of the property owner is forwarded to the township for further action.
“The hauler is not legally allowed to assess taxes,” said township Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst. “The notice (of an impending lien) has to come from the township in order to be placed on the tax bill. Essentially, you are getting your original bill and two to three notices before we get involved.”
Currently, delinquent accounts are sent by the hauler to a collection agency and the service may be suspended.
“We have a very high delinquency rate right now,” said Brobst. “We will (under the new contract) have residents that will challenge this at least one time around, but we’ll send them the $200 fee.”
Under the new contract, service could continue and fees would accumulate. However, the trustees asked the attorney to help refine the process and suggested the possibility of a sliding fee scale.
Madison Township Fiscal Officer Barb Adams said the process, once the township is notified of the delinquency, is essentially the same as the one the township uses for mowing assessments.
“We could assess throughout the year, but they could easily not know there’s an assessment until they see their tax bill in December,” said Brobst.
Durham said he would take the trustees’ concerns back to the negotiating table before the contract is finalized and forwarded for approval by the board before the beginning of September.