Garbage fee bills mailed

Published 11:16 am Friday, November 23, 2012


IVOR—Barbara Haywood broke down and cried after receiving a $200 garbage bill from Southampton County.

The 78-year-old Ivor woman, who lives on $14,400 a year, did not know about the first-time annual fee, which the Board of Supervisors approved in May for its $52 million budget. Haywood also didn’t know she could ask for an exemption.

She isn’t alone, said Treasurer David Britt.

“We’ve had a lot of phone calls concerning the $200 refuge fee,” Britt said. “Some ask if they have to pay it and can they get an exemption.”

Most are elderly.

Bills were received in the mail last week and are due Dec. 5. Sept. 1 was the deadline to apply for an exemption.

Newsoms District Supervisor Glenn Updike, who was the only board member to oppose the fee, said he may suggest extending that deadline during the supervisors’ 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, meeting at the County Government Center in Courtland.

“I think each individual case should be reviewed and taken into consideration,” Updike said.

A front-page story that included the exemption deadline ran in The Tidewater News on July 4. The exemption is given to a home occupied by residents 65 or older, or who are totally disabled; have a combined annual household income of less than $30,000; and a combined financial worth of less than $80,000.

Carolyn Gwaltney of Chuckatuck, who is Haywood’s daughter, believes the county should’ve notified residents by mail about the exemption option.

“She does not have a computer and she does not subscribe to The Tidewater News because she was raised in Deep Creek and Chesapeake (and gets The Virginian-Pilot),” Gwaltney said about her mother. “She’s disabled, on a fixed income and 65 or older. It should be a write-off.”

Britt said it took until October to compile a list of names and addresses for billing. The county got its data from personal property tax roles, utilities companies and its 911 emergency calling base.

“We notified the newspaper and had a public hearing, which was necessary,” he said.

Anyone who does not pay the bill by the deadline will be charged 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.

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. 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.