County cracks down on

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 13, 2001

past-due garbage bills


Staff Writer

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Feb. 12, 2001 10 PM

Those who still owe the Pike County Solid Waste Department money may want to pay because the county plans to get the money.

Monday night, the Pike County Commission gave Sam Green, enforcement officer for the department, the authority to take delinquent customers to small claims court.

Green met with County Attorney Allen Jones last week to discuss the problem of nonpayment of garbage bills.

The result of that conversation is for Green to file suit to recoup the county’s money.

Jones said signing warrants on the misdemeanor offense is not working in some cases because there is no jail time and the crime is punishable by $50 per day per offense.

"There’s no power," Jones said of the law. "You can’t put them in jail.

"It’s not as easy as it seems to go and just collect. You can get a judgement. Collecting the judgement is the hard part."

But, if a judge rules in favor in small claims court, an individual’s wages can be garnished.

After a recent story in The Messenger stating Green’s plans to go to court, "several hundred dollars" in owed money was collected.

Green plans to get the rest.

Some he said, have not paid their bills in six years. Some owe as much as $400 or $500 dollars and one individual owes $800.

He estimates a total of nearly $80,000 is owed to the solid waste department and hopes by filing 30 suits a month will clear up some of those cases.

Cost to the county for filing the suits will be $38 per person.

In other business, the commission:

· Discussed the county’s contract with Mark Dunning Industries, which picks up garbage.

Dunning said, for an additional $2 per household, his crews will pick up any garbage bags not inside the 80-gallon can and wording of the contact will be changed.

He also suggested the commission not lock into a contract with the Coffee County landfill at this time; rather, they should wait to find out when the Brundidge landfill will open because they may get a better deal.

· Agreed to go to the state bid list of $50,658 for three 3/4-ton pickup trucks for the road department.

· Granted a request to declare road department equipment as surplus and gave the county engineer permission to sell.

· Approved several travel requests.

· Awarded the bid for the courthouse telephone/networking system to Verizon Enterprise Solutions, which submitted a $104,599.73 bid. The county had budgeted $106,000 for the project.

· Voted to keep millage rates and county levies for alcoholic beverages the same.

· Set a meeting for 6:30 p.m., Feb. 20 to discuss legislative agenda items.

· Agreed to spend $807.69 to have the upstairs courtroom seats reupholstered by the Alabama Department of Corrections.

· Chose not to advertise in The Messenger’s Profile edition after the motion made by Commissioner Larry Meeks died for lack of a second.

· Was reminded of the Feb. 21 public hearing on the proposed subdivision regulations. That meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the temporary courthouse location.