Personal Finance

I Can Still Fight

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 4 minute read

Defying city hall is futile, as the old adage goes. Right now I’m investigating whether or not this is still the case. My usual writings are meant to impart some nugget of “knowledge” that may be used by the reader in his or her daily life to save costs, reduce outgoings, or increase earnings.

This is a more engaging and interactive article. In addition to sharing knowledge, I need your assistance. Since I have never done anything like this before, I would really appreciate it if people left thoughtful comments and recommendations at the conclusion. What’s more, I have no notion if I can actually win. But I’m not going to let that deter me from giving it a shot.

The Details

Put simply, the county I reside in is requiring me to hire a garbage management business. I don’t know for sure, but I assume the fact that I reside in an unincorporated part of the county is a major factor. This applies to not just myself, but also everyone else in my area. 

The “change” and tariffs and everything were announced in letters given out lately. About a year ago, the county attempted this strategy, but there was such a public outrage that it was abandoned. There was never any follow-through on their intended action. Everything has changed this year.

The main reason I have never paid for garbage pickup is that I consider it absurd to do so given that my family never had to shoulder this expense before. The funding source was probably some form of property tax back then. What I don’t understand is when this shift occurred.

Regardless, I’ve always followed the law, kept my garbage clean, and disposed of it in an ethical manner, and have never paid for trash pickup. Every effort is made to recycle at our home. Roughly one reusable shopping bag’s worth of waste is produced daily. I have been given authorization to get rid of this garbage at my place of employment.

It seems the new company’s charges are far higher than those of the old one, therefore my neighbors are still complaining. The bare minimum service from this provider will set you back $17.86 per month. Yard trash is not included in this. It costs an extra $10 per month to have this service picked up. There must be some more “extras” that cost extra as well. I don’t see how the county can justify making me do this, or how it’s even feasible. There is no obligation on my part to subscribe to any of the utilities they provide. What’s unusual about garbage collection, anyway?

The Battle

The first thing I did was get in touch with the new rubbish removal firm. They claimed to have nothing to do with it and were unable to assist me in canceling my service. Following that, I made contact with my county’s Solid Waste and Recycling Department. They did not strike me as very pleasant. They specifically said that “opting out” was not a choice.

I inquired what would happen if I didn’t pay the amount in a very kind manner. Their immediate reaction was to tell me that my garbage would be collected and that I would lose service (I think you can tell this was a government employee I was talking to). In response, I explained that, given my initial disinterest in the service, that was indeed my ultimate aim.

After putting me on hold for a while, they warned the county may put a lien on my property if I didn’t pay my fee by a specific date. Having accomplished that, I hung up the phone with them. I had a feeling the road ended in failure, but it was still helpful to learn that for sure. A few days ago, I wrote to our County Board of Commissioners to request further assistance, but I have heard nothing back.

Your Assistance

As a result, you should have no further questions. I can’t do this alone; I need your assistance, as I mentioned at the outset. This leads to the following inquiries:

  • What should I do next?
  • Will I be able to win?
  • Is what they’re doing legal?

I intend to keep fighting, albeit at this point I have no idea how to proceed. The thought crossed my mind to use a credit card to pay the bill and then dispute the charge with the card issuer. If they were going to collect this money from me, I may as well make their lives as terrible as possible.

The annual cost of this fee is an additional $215. While I am in a position to pay this price, how will it affect those who are not as well off? What if paying this payment meant choosing between putting an extra $215 worth of food on the table for one’s family each year, or paying this charge? I’m frustrated, confused, and ready to fight. I just don’t know where to focus my aggression.

Please share your thoughts with me in the comments if you have any insightful advice on how to proceed with this matter.

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