0703FBRANCHAUDHear Flowery Branch Councilman Craig Lutz discuss concerns over adding the $1 service charge.
Trash customers, residential and commercial, will pay $12 instead of $11 monthly for the service. Councilmen Craig Lutz and Chris Fetterman voted against the charge.
Lutz wanted to delay the vote to give city officials time to study the issue of trash-only customers not paying their monthly bills.
He latched onto an earlier comment by resident James Herold, who said he understood that some 100 people were delinquent on their bills.
"If you go after them, you wouldn’t have to (impose) the $1 fee," Herold said.
City Clerk Melissa McCain confirmed that about 100 residents were behind in payments.
"Can we quantify that?" Lutz asked. "If that’s the case, we need to put together some kind of action plan."
McCain said city officials were working on such a plan.
Lutz’s motion to delay the vote failed. A subsequent motion to impose the fee passed, with council members Allen Bryans Sr., Pat Zalewski and Mary Jones in favor.
The move evens up new service charges for water, sewer and trash customers in the city.
City Council voted last month to impose a $2.50 fee for water and sewer customers and a $1.50 fee for water or sewer-only customers.
Those service charges will cover rising costs associated with city staff reading water meters, mailing bills and handling telephone calls regarding utility services.
"The cost of (picking up) the trash no longer can cover the cost of generating the bill," City Manager Bill Andrew said in an earlier interview. "... Most utilities have a separate charge for the bill itself."
Lutz said that his understanding was that part of the service charge would cover some of the "expense of doing trash."
"To me, if that’s the case, that’s not really a service fee," he said. "It’s part of the trash fee. And I would have liked to have gotten a deeper dive in there to figure out if really we needed a full dollar or not."