VERIFY: Can the county charge taxpayers for services they did not provide?

Verify: Taxpayers must pay for failed services?

A family in Macon County says they're dealing with a smelly and costly situation in their own front yard.

During the last year, homeowner William Melton says the county has not picked up his trash nearly a half a dozen times.

But, he still has to pay the full waste collection service bill every month. 

Melton asked us to verify, "Can the county charge for services that they didn't provide?"

Yvonne Thomas set out to verify the facts. 

Every Thursday morning, William Melton brings his cans to the curb but he started to notice a pattern. 

"At least six times this year our trash was not collected," he said.

Melton is a local farmer living on a dirt road in Marshallville. 

"Anytime we see a substantial amount of rain, the road becomes impassable. And when the road becomes impassable, the county fails to pick up the trash," he explained further. 

But even when the county doesn't pick up the waste, Melton says he's still expected to pick up the full bill. 

"They told me they'd put a lien on my house if I didn't pay the bill," Melton said. 

County Manager Regina McDuffie says her office keeps track of garbage complaints and handle each case individually

"We do get calls sometimes because the trash company does miss certain residents or there maybe some issue with the road that they can't pick the trash up," McDuffie said. 

But she verified, the county is NOT obligated by Georgia law or county ordinance to reduce bills for unperformed services.

She says they often try to work it out with the taxpayer to reduce the bill., but don't they are not required to.

"You can have a lien put against your property if you don't pay your garbage bill and we have been filing liens," she said. 

That's also correct according to Macon County City Ordinance Section 34-1 D.

We also spoke to the Clint Mueller with the Georgia's County Association (ACCG). 

Mueller says taxpayers can request a refund but it must be approved by the county manager. 

If you still don't agree with the outcome, Mueller says you can settle the matter in court. 

So, we verified county leaders CAN bill taxpayers for services they didn't receive. 

Here are our sources: 

  • Macon County Georgia Code of Ordinances
  • County Manager Regina McDuffie
  • Clint Mueller with the Georgia's County Association 

© 2018 WMAZ-TV


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