By Amanda Amsel
The Franklin Township trustees recently held a special meeting with Local Waste Services to discuss the ongoing trash issues in the township.
The trustees expressed their frustration with Local Waste Services about residents being charged for collection when their trash reportedly is not being collected.
“I think there was some confusion with our residents about what they were being billed for,” said John Fleshman, township trustee. “We found out that the bills residents were getting after their service was discontinued were from the previous quarters and weren’t new charges.”
Despite clearing up this confusion there were other issues the trustees also needed to address with the trash hauling provider. One of these issues was how Local Waste Services was going to be paid for the back bills that Franklin Township residents owe.
According to Franklin Township trustee Don Cook, they are going to send out letters to people not paying their bill and tell them they must come into compliance.
“By law trash needs to be collected at every township property, every seven days,” Cook said. “If property owners aren’t paying their bills and their trash stops being collected, they are violating the law.”
Cook said township residents need to understand that this is the responsibility of the property owner, not the tenants if they are renting their property.
According to Local Waste Services, there are at least 700 people in the township either not participating in the trash program or have had their service discontinued.
“I would like to see liens put on people’s properties if they don’t pay their bills,” Fleshman said. “That way the trash is still collected and it doesn’t become an eyesore and they are punished for non-payment. If they get a lien on their property, it will cost them a lot more than it would if they just paid their bill with Local Waste Services.”
In a statement to the board from Local Waste Services Managing Member Rick Cattran he said they have written off $75,889 in non-payment for township residents. Cattran said the monthly costs to continue to haul resident’s trash would increase when their contract expired if something didn’t change.
While the contract for Local Waste Services doesn’t expire for a year and half, the trustees worry anyone who bids on their new contract will increase the rates as a result of these issues.
“It concerns me because we have a lot of older residents in this township living on fixed incomes,” Fleshman said. “These people can’t afford to pay a higher trash bill, especially when they are struggling to pay the bill they get quarterly now. Something needs to be fixed because rates very well may increase if this continues.”
The only way the township can have the authority to put a lien on a property for non-trash payment is if the township becomes a home rule township.
“Right now we are still looking into if we will put the home rule option on the November ballot,” Cook said. “We should be deciding on this soon.”
In early 2017, the township will begin accepting bids on a new trash contract and will see at that time how dramatic of an increase rates will be. Local Waste Services has predicted in the past that if things stay as is the rates could increase from $14 a month to $20-$25 a month.