PORTAGE | When workers began distributing the new trash and recycling containers, they found more homes were using the city services than were paying for them.
Many of those homes had one time been vacated, possibly because of foreclosure or similar actions and had filed a vacate request with the city's Utility Services Department saying no one was living there any longer and were no longer required to pay the monthly trash, sanitary sewer and stormwater fees while the home was vacant. They paid a $60 fee for that designation. But, officials said, when someone moved back into the home, no one informed the city.
The new resident simply put out their garbage can and the city began collecting. The resident never received a trash, stormwater or sanitary bill from the city.
Mayor James Snyder told the Utility Services Board on Wednesday that the department currently is working on a list of some 400 properties that were on the vacate list, but were receiving services.
The board on Wednesday approved forwarding an ordinance proposal to the City Council's ordinance committee to curtail such action.
The proposal would allow residents to apply for a vacate for a maximum of four months. They would be required to pay the stormwater fee of $10.75 per month for the time they would be gone and an additional $25 vacate fee.
After four months, the home would automatically come off the vacate list and monthly billing would begin again.
That, said Snyder, would still allow residents who go away for the winter to stop paying trash and sanitary sewer fees for the time they are gone.