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Lincoln County residents will get a $14 break on garbage bill

Lincoln Countians who have suffered through a year of bad to non-existent garbage service will finally get some money back.

They’ll get $14.

That’s how much the math works out to for the more than 9,100 county residents paying for trash collection after supervisors on Monday voted 5-0 to offer a one-month rebate on county garbage bills to make up for the failings of former county garbage company Waste Pro, which was sent packing Oct. 1 after missing thousands of scheduled pickups in 2018. The rebates will be offered through deductions on the next quarterly garbage bill, pending legal approval from board attorney Bob Allen.

“It’s time to do it if we’re going to do it,” said District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown, who made the motion to offer the rebate.

Giving back $14 to each of the county’s 9,119 households will cost the county more than $127,000.

Supervisors felt citizens were owed the break after trash collection turned to mayhem over the summer, with Waste Pro missing entire roads for weeks at a time. Supervisors put their work crews on the roads with pickups and trailers in an attempt to clean up behind the company and placed trash bins around the county for residents who wanted to haul off their own refuse.

But county residents are paying quarterly garbage to have their solid waste collected and should not be responsible for its transport — as several citizens and supervisors themselves have pointed out.

“I’m asking that y’all not pay (Waste Pro) for 15 people for the last quarter,” said Thomas Gatlin, who spoke to the board Monday to complain about missed pickups in her neighborhood. “There are 15 people I know who did not get garbage pickup for seven weeks. One of my neighbors helped pick it all up and he said, ‘This is community service.’ But $153 per year is not community service.”

Before she left the meeting, Gatlin added, “it would be nice for us to get a rebate or something.” The board voted for the rebate an hour later.

The board has developed a fee scale by which it intends to deduct its own expenses from Waste Pro’s final two paychecks for August and September, an amount of more than $160,000. The board is still calculating the costs, but early estimates indicate as much as half the final bill could be wiped out.