Collection of $200 garbage fee outlined

Published 8:02 am Tuesday, November 20, 2012

COURTLAND—The following are the most frequently asked questions concerning the $200 trash fee all households in Southampton County will have to pay this year.

Question: How will I be billed?

Answer: Bills will be mailed to each home by the Treasurer’s Office this fall along with personal property tax bills. They will be due on Dec. 5.

Question: Who is exempt?

Answer: Stevens Woods apartments in Courtland and Brookside Square apartments in Boykins. Homes that are unoccupied for at least 180 consecutive days prior to July, and home occupied by residents 65 or older, or who are totally disabled. They must have a total combined annual household income of less than $30,000 and a combined financial worth that does not exceed $80,000.

Question: How do I claim an exemption?

Answer: If you receive a bill, contact the County Administrator’s office at 653-3015. You will be required to sign a sworn affidavit attesting to the fact that the property has been vacant.

If exempt from paying real estate taxes, you won’t have to pay the $200 fee.

Homes occupied by residents who are 65 or older and totally disabled and not enrolled in the real estate exemption program should contact the county administrator’s office at 653-3015 and ask for an exemption application. These applications must be returned no later than Sept. 1.

Question: What will happen if I don’t pay the fee?

Answer: The treasurer will add a 10 percent penalty and interest begins to accrue at the rate of 10 percent annually. After Dec. 5, the treasurer will send a past due notice. Failure to respond may result in property liens, garnished wages and seizure of assets.

Question: Why is the county charging the fee?

Answer: The costs for collecting, handling and disposing garbage will equal $1.8 million for fiscal year 2013. This equates to an annual expense of more than $250 per household.

Question: How much revenue will the fee generate?

Answer: The fee is expected to generate $1.34 million annually, which will cover 71.6 percent of the cost of managing the county’s garbage. The $534,000 balance will be funded through property taxes.