Erie City Council To Discuss Delinquent Garbage Fees - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Erie City Council To Discuss Delinquent Garbage Fees

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City of Erie residents, be looking to get your garbage bills soon.
They go out this Thursday.
This, as city council continues to look for ways to collect millions in unpaid bills.

When city residents get their quarterly bills soon, they'll see an increase, it's now $55.00 a quarter.
That's something that still has many outraged, as millions of unpaid garbage bills go uncollected.

WICU & WSEE broke the story in November.
The fact that there is $1.6 million dollars in unpaid garbage fees, as city council raised everybody else's rates to balance the budget.

That number soars to $2.5 million when you add the hundreds of thousands in liens filed against the property owners.Currently, the only recourse for those who don't pay their garbage bills, is to put a lien on their property, "The problem with the lien process is that it allows us to collect the money when a house is sold. So that might not be for 15 to 30 years down the road," said Erie City Council Member Bob Merski. "Eventually the city will get all of it's money back, but the length of time is frustrating to a lot of taxpayers and rightfully so," Merski added.

The list of delinquent fees is staggering with prominent names on the list, even elected officials and lawyers.
Through our investigative report, we uncovered that landlords account for a majority of unpaid fees.
And when we broke the story, we stopped by the law offices of Dave Mack. His companies, including Raymac Inc. and Guvno Inc. owe tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid fees.
His business partner, Ray Wasielewski told us it's because the "tenants aren't paying their garbage bills, and it's their responsibility."

Wednesday morning, Erie city council will meet to talk more about their options on collecting these fees.
One option comes from Council Member Bob Merski who introduced a resolution, which would tie in garbage fees with the city's rental inspection program, "If the solicitor finds that adding the garbage fees rental inspection program is legal, I think it'll make a great impact on the hefty bill that's owed to the city," said Merski. "A lot of the bills that were owed were from landlords. And so, by putting this mechanism into place is just one cog in the wheel that'll allow us to start recouping that money quicker than through the lien process," Merski added.

" Quicker than the lien process.

Other options include:
~Combining water/sewer/garbage onto one bill.
~Collecting on the lien before a house sells.
~Using a collection agency
~Revoking Section 8 funding for landlords who aren't paying.

All options will be talked about Wednesday morning during the brainstorming session, as well as the legality of each option.

Merski says council is doing everything they can to find a way to collect these bills, "All of your city council people are taxpayers, and we all live in the city. So we share in the frustration that people aren't stepping up and paying their obligations, and we're doing our very best to do something about it within the confines of the law," said Merski.

WICU & WSEE was first to publish the names of those who owe thousands in unpaid garbage bills.

And you can now search by name who isn't paying their bills, or by who owes the city the most.

Submit your event now
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