LYNN — In the midst of confusion over the latest round of trash fees, city officials have opted to waive the $30 late fee that caught numerous residents off-guard.
An emergency meeting with relevant city department heads, City Council President Darren Cyr, Mayor Thomas M. McGee and the city’s attorney, James Lamanna, was held on Monday to bring a resolution to the confusion.
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 and a bill in their spouse’s name; some are paying their bill in full, as told, but still being charged a $30 late fee; and some residents in multi-family homes are unsure what their bill even is.
But McGee claims in a statement demand letters with late fees were only sent out to residents who had not paid either or both of their trash fee bills this year.
State law caps demand fees on unpaid taxes and assessments at $30 to allow for municipalities to recover the costs incurred from attempting to collect the unpaid amounts due, according to the mayor.
“Due to limitations of our general billing system, the interest and unit counts were not stated properly and caused confusion,” McGee said in a statement. “However, the total dollar amounts due on the demand statements were correct. As a result of confusion from the first year of a new bill, we have decided to waive these demand fees.”
City officials are also offering a 60-day grace period ending Jan. 29 for residents to pay their entire trash fee for the year. People who have paid the demand fee will be reimbursed and the city is looking to obtain a better billing system to prevent future issues.
Earlier this year, a $90 bi-annual trash fee was imposed on residential and commercial units through a home rule petition as a way to raise revenue for the city to pay back a $14 million loan, which was given to the city through legislation and was exhausted to balance the previous two years’ budgets. The fee is expected to raise $2 million in revenue annually.