City Wants to Expose Garbage Bill Delinquents

The mayor and city council president of a northwestern Pennsylvania city say they're considering listing people with overdue garbage bills on the city's web site.

According to reports in The Erie Times-News, Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott and Council President Jim Winarski are concerned about $2 million in delinquent bills. The city's proposed $69.7 million 2014 budget includes garbage and sewage fee increases that will raise about $3.1 million more annually.

Erie is not the only city seeking to reel in additional funding through aggressive garbage bill collection.

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City officials say Scranton began listing past-due garbage bills earlier this year in hopes of collecting about $8 million in overdue fees.

Sinnott says he's not looking to embarrass those who miss a payment or two, but instead those who habitually don't pay. Some delinquent bills top $10,000.

The question is, will naming the delinquents online lead to more revenue for the cities? The answer remains to be seen.

"I think it would have some value," Sinnott told the Erie Times-News. "It's hard to determine the magnitude of that value until we do it."

According to the Scranton Times-Tribune, Scranton officials received nearly $40,000 in overdue garbage bill payments in the first week of the city's delinquent garbage bill database launch in August.

Ultimately, whether residents pay their garbage bills or not, the cities cannot refuse to pick up garbage placed outside for collection because it's a public health concern.

Read the full story at Erie Times-News.

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