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County considers adding trash bill to taxes

Your property tax bill may soon have a new item: garbage service. The Calhoun County Commission is working to come up with a new plan for garbage fee collection after the private contractor handling the local service was ready to chunk the whole deal. According to Commissioner Don Miller (district 3), Waste Management has been handling garbage service for Calhoun County, but few are using it and, of those, many are not paying. “We have an ordinance that says you must have garbage service if you live in the unincorporated areas of Calhoun County,” says Miller. Despite the fact that there are 3700 homes in the county that should be utilizing Waste Management for their garbage service, only 32 percent of them are having their trash picked up. Of those, 15 percent are in arrears. “Waste Management is a business and they are spending fuel and labor here,” Miller points out. “They told us May 1 they were out of the garbage business. We begged them to wait two more months and that put us through July. They realized we were serious because we hired consultants, so they agreed to continue at $21 per month through December.” After meeting with consultants and a logistics specialist to figure out how to get the garbage system handled properly, commissioners are leaning toward taking bids from private companies, then the county would handle the billing process with every residence in the unincorporated areas being billed for garbage annually on their property tax bill. Those with land only will not be billed and commercial billing will be separate. “We have five different companies who have expressed interest in billing,” says Miller. “If this will save the citizens money, we will do this. If not, we will regroup and plan a different direction.”

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