Archived Story

Deadline for garbage fee extended till March

Published 11:21am Wednesday, November 28, 2012

COURTLAND—Southampton County supervisors on Monday voted 6-0 to extend the deadline to March 31 for paying the $200 garbage fee.

Supervisors also agreed to allow residents to file exemptions for paying the fee through Jan. 31.

Since mailing the first-time garbage bills two weeks ago, the county has received complaints from residents unaware of the fee, which supervisors approved in May for its $52 million budget. The $200 was due on Dec. 5, the same day as real estate and personal property taxes.

Some 250 residents said they didn’t know they could file for exemptions by Sept. 1. County Administrator Mike Johnson estimates the county will have to hire temporary employees for about $6,000 to help residents fill out the applications. Supervisors agreed to spend the money.

The exemption is given to a home occupied by residents 65 or older, or who are totally disabled; have a combined annual household income of less than $30,000; and a combined financial worth of less than $80,000. Supervisors on Monday agreed to include anyone who lives in a trailer park that provides trash service and households occupied by veterans who are exempt from real property taxes due to a 100 percent military disability

Supervisors also voted 4-2 to send notices to the county’s 7,000 homes about the fee, which they had not done before. Franklin District Supervisor Barry Porter and Newsoms District Supervisor Glenn Updike opposed mailing the notices.

“Anyone who complains that they can’t pay it, say we have extended the deadline because of notification problems,” Porter said. “I don’t think we need to spend money to send 7,000 letters.”

“We failed to notify the public properly, although it was legally done,” added Berlin/Ivor District Supervisor Ronnie West.

March 31 will be the deadline for future years to avoid a conflict with the state-required tax deadline of Dec. 5.

The costs for collecting, handling and disposing garbage will equal $1.8 million for fiscal year 2013. This equates to an annual expense of more than $250 per household. The fee is expected to generate $1.34 million annually, which will cover 71.6 percent of the cost of managing the county’s garbage. The $534,000 balance will be funded through property taxes.

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