County residents get 82-cent bill

Published 9:22 pm Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In a meeting Monday, the Pike County Commission addressed some confusion involving waste management charges.

Residents of Pike County, who have their trash picked up by Advance Disposal, received a mysterious bill for 82 cents recently. The commission said the charge was legitimate.

“The reason for the bill,” explained County Administrator Harry Sanders, “was that Advanced Disposal had exercised an option in their contract.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

That option, which was stipulated in an agreement between the commission and Advance Disposal, was that the company had the right to raise its fees under certain circumstances.

Advance Disposal is authorized to raise its quarterly service charge to reflect an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The amount of the increase is calculated by a formula, also set out in the contract.

The clause of the contract is meant to allow Advance Disposal to make up for price increases in goods and services in the economy.

For customers in Pike County, it means a 41-cent increase in trash pickup charges per month. Those customers now pay $15.56 every three months, up from $14.33 before the adjustment.

The bill for 82 cents was sent independently of the main bill, and it represented a two-month period where the change in the CPI had been figured in and Advance Disposal was authorized to apply it.

Sanders addressed the county commission Monday and those facts were discussed.

“We want the public to know what’s happening,” Sanders said.

Initially though, not even the commission knew where exactly the increase came from.

“I, like everybody else, had received the bill,” Sanders said.

But when he opened the envelope, it was the first he had heard of the rate-hike.

“They (Advanced Disposal) were supposed to have notified the commission,” Sanders said.

The county commission then contacted Advance Disposal to inquire about the bill. Sanders said they were told a letter had been sent, but county officials hadn’t received that correspondence until after the bills had been delivered.

“They told us they regretted not getting the letter out in a timely matter,” Sanders said of the notification, which he described as “more-less a courtesy.”

Many residents had already contacted the waste management service provider.

“Some folks had reported when they called, that Advance Disposal said that the county commission had increased the rates,” said Sanders, who explained that while that was technically accurate, it was not factual.

Sanders said the commission wanted to clear the air on the issue that unfortunately sees utility rates on the rise.

“We know it doesn’t make people happy,” he said. “And we regret people’s bill going up. It’s just a matter of business.”