City Council To Consider New Ordinance To Collect Garbage Fees - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Erie City Council To Consider New Ordinance To Collect Unpaid Garbage Fees

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Wednesday night, Erie city council will consider a new plan, for collecting $2 million dollars in unpaid garbage bills.
Their target, landlords who owe the bulk of that money.

The city is considering an ordinance that would tie-in rental licenses with garbage fees, and other taxes and fees.
So, those landlords who owe tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid refuse fees, couldn't rent their properties until all of their bills were paid.

When WICU & WSEE broke the story, about the millions in unpaid garbage fees, we also uncovered that a majority of those unpaid garbage bills, were from landlords.
Wednesday night, council will consider a new plan on the table, where basically, a rental property would not pass inspection if the fees aren't paid.

We sat down with the President of The Apartment Association of Northwestern Pa, Joel Miller.
He thinks the best solution is to combine the water, sewer, garbage bills. It's a plan that the city is also considering.

"They're (landlords) either going to pay the bill or not pay the bill," said Miller. "And if they don't pay the bill they're going to get an unpaid water bill, and an unpaid water bill means the water can be shut off, and consequently the trash bill also gets paid," Miller added.

Miller says the proposed ordinance is just another amendment to the city's rental inspection program, and he thinks adding more qualifications to get a rental license isn't fair to all landlords.

He adds while the concept of tying in rental licenses with unpaid fees sounds like it might work on the surface, because of many different concerns, it may not be the best idea.

"What about the situation when the landlord is actually incapable financially of bringing that bill current in time for an inspection, does not get a license, and is forced to evict somebody out of their home because there's no longer a rental license for that property because the landlord needs time to pay a fee to the city," Miller considered.

Miller also suggests that landlords simply include the garbage fee in the rent. Garbage is a fixed fee, and that way landlords could ensure the bill was paid.

Wednesday night is just the first reading of the proposed ordinance.

Tune in to WICU & WSEE Wednesday night for the outcome of the meeting at 10 & 11.


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