New bill could help county prorate waste fee

Published 10:27 am Friday, January 10, 2014

COURTLAND—Del. Roslyn Tyler (D-75) will be presenting a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that will provide the Southampton County government with another tool in collecting fees.

Currently, Southampton County bills the solid waste management fee to each residential household once per January, and it is due by March 31. The proposed legislation, House Bill 62, would allow the county to enter into contractual agreements with light and power companies for the collection of the fee in monthly installments, which County Administrator Mike Johnson said some residents would prefer.

Plus, Johnson said, the proposed bill would allow the county to prorate the bill for residents who do not live in Southampton County all year.

“If you move from the county, you are going to get the full year, even though you really only resided in it for a certain number of months,” he said. “This would be a much fairer way to impose the fee.”

Johnson said the bill does not obligate any of the electric companies to collect this fee, it merely enables the county to enter into a negotiation to do that, should it chose to do so.

It will not add any new fees that are not already being collected, it would just allow the electric companies the opportunity to collect installments of $16.67 per month.

It is also not a new statute, said Johnson. It has been part of the Code of Virginia since 1991. House Bill 62 will revise the statue to allow Southampton County the same rights and privileges already in Accomack, Augusta, Floyd, Highland, Pittsylvania and Wise counties.

The fee for solid waste disposal does not and cannot exceed the costs and fees expended by the county for removal and disposal of solid waste, said Johnson. The county expended $1.8 million to remove solid waste in 2013, and received $964,271 at $200 a household, with limited exceptions, from the fee. Johnson said the rest of the expenses are paid for by other tax revenues.

The fee has been imposed in the county since 2012, he said.

Johnson also said he planned to be on hand when the bill is presented.

He said that if any residents want to make sure this bill is pushed, that they should contact their respective delegate and senator and let them know.

Tyler said she submitted the bill at the request of the Southampton Board of Supervisors.

Del. Rick Morris (R-64) said that he was carefully reviewing the bill.

Depending on where you live, one of six power companies represent you in Southampton County. They are Dominion Virginia Power, Community Electric Cooperative, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Prince George Electric Cooperative, City of Franklin or Roanoke, N.C., Electric Cooperative.