ABERDEEN – For the third time in its past few meetings, the board of supervisors had a lengthy discussion June 3 about instances when garbage bills go months without being detected, creating accrued bills totaling hundreds of dollars for some property owners.
The recent conversations have stemmed from a resident who bought a piece of property in 2011 from the then current owners who were close to losing it. The two people retained one-fourth of an acre of the property through a joint life estate. The two people passed away in recent years, the owner received a garbage bill for $1,200, and now there’s a lien on the property.
While the property owner has been okayed to purchase his license plate, a mechanism used to collect delinquent garbage bills, the lien remains. Supervisors discussed what, if anything, could be done about it.
“This is a lien on a piece of property that can’t be forgiven so I suggest you don’t take any action unless you want to break the law,” said county board attorney David Houston.
He said a statute states the property can’t be sold to satisfy the lien, which will continue to accrue interest.
“I don’t see why he should pay it if he didn’t live on the property at that time,” said District 3 Chip Chism, who said he may run into the same situation. “I’ve got a trailer on my property. I don’t own it. It’s not my light meter, but it’s sitting on my property and I know for four years, Three Rivers [Planning and Development District] has never sent them a bill.
The people living on Chism’s property aren’t even in the tracking system used by Three Rivers that catches delinquent bills. Different county officials around the board table asked why some unpaid bills go months without being caught.
“In reality, those are our bills. Three Rivers collects our bills, so you can’t lay all the blame on Three Rivers,” said board president Billy Kirkpatrick.
District 4 Supervisor Fulton Ware said the board wants to help people but can’t break the law in doing so.
“The bottom line is he got punished for doing a good deed,” said county administrator Bob Prisock.
In other business, board attorney David Houston said negotiations with Weyerhaeuser for the sale of 68-plus acres of property for the Monroe County Landfill have been going well, and a closing date is expected later this month.
“This is a significant deal. This puts us at least 10 years down the road, at least 10 at the landfill,” Kirkpatrick said of further expansions.
Houston said he thinks a good working relationship with Weyerhaeuser helped make the land sale and use of land for a debris burn site possible.
The board also approved applications from Magnum Metals, Homestretch and United Furniture Industries for 10-year tax exemptions, which excludes companies from taxes with the exception of school and road and bridge tax.