LYNN — Five months after Lynn’s new trash fees caught residents off guard, confusion about the wording of the bills has the complaints piling in.
Aggravated Lynners pleaded with their ward councilors and councilors-at-large about a number of problems regarding the second round of trash fee bills that were sent out last week. An emergency meeting has been scheduled for Monday with a number of the city’s department heads and James Lamanna, the city’s attorney.
“I envision a series of internal meetings to try to solve this,” Lamanna said. “I am hopeful we will have answers for the public early this week.”
Some residents are confused because they didn’t realize the annual $90 trash fee was going to be split into two $45 bills; some residents are receiving bills in their individual name as well as a bill in their spouse’s name; some are paying their bill in full, as told, but still being charged a $30 late fee demand; and some residents living in multi-family homes are unsure what their bill even is.
“I can’t even explain it because it is so confusing,” said Jay Walsh, Ward 7 councilor. “It is kind of crappy and I am just shaking my head at it. I feel like we couldn’t implement this one right and I’m a little upset about it.”
Walsh said the Department of Public Works does not typically send out bills to all the city’s residents, which is why they teamed up with the assessor’s office and the treasurer’s office. The billing system for the trash fees is run through the same system used for excise taxes, he said.
“I am told it is the equipment they are using to send out and record bills and that it’s not the most efficient,” said Councilor-At-Large Brian Field. “Investing in that might be upwards of $70,000 with another additional amount every year to upkeep it.”
Field and Walsh both said that every complaint is a case by case basis, which is why they are hoping for some answers to come out of Monday’s meeting. The department heads and Lamanna will look through the wording on all of the bills and try to find the best way to move forward, said Field.
Earlier this year, the $90 trash fee was settled on through much debate among the city’s councilors, said Walsh. It was ultimately approved after the newly-imposed bill was expected to raise $2 million in revenue annually for the city.
“It’s already an insult we had to do this to people and now we have to relive it again,” said Walsh. “I don’t want to blame any individual, I just want to find the problem and fix it.”