According to the last census, there are only 107 families (434 residents) living in the borough of Weissport.
At a meeting this week of Weissport Borough Council, it was stated that 42 customers are delinquent on their garbage bills. This means, without having exact figures for calculation, that more than 39 percent of the people are not paying their annual $185 garbage fees.
THIS IS MORE THAN ONE IN THREE FAMILIES!
The borough secretary, Dana Brubaker, said the delinquency total is currently $11,852.
Weissport can't survive very long like this. Although the residents aren't paying their fee, the borough must still pay the trash collector $33,000 for picking up trash during 2010.
It's not only trash collection bills that are in arrears in Weissport. Residents are notorious for getting behind in their sewage treatment bills.
What can the borough do?
• One, bill more frequently. Currently the residents are billed annually. It can be difficult for some folks to come up with $185 at one clip, especially if the resident is on a fixed income and doesn't save, or if the resident is deemed below poverty level. It would be easier for many people to pay, say, $49 a quarter than coming up with nearly $200 bucks at a shot.
• Second, put more of the burden on the property owner. Send the bills to the landlords and make them responsible. They can either collect it from tenants when bills are received or include it in the monthly rent. It's sometimes impossible for the borough to recoup money from tenants, some who have no savings or assets.
Making landlords obligated for the payments gives the borough leverage for collecting unpaid fees.
Residents must understand that the rates aren't fully determined by the borough council. They are dictated by the cost of the contract for trash collection.
If people fail to pay their share, then the rates increase for all the other residents.
A lot of communities have problems with delinquents for municipal services. Weissport's delinquency list is unacceptable.
The borough council must consult with its solicitor and do everything it can to reduce both the number of families delinquent and the $11,852 arrearage total.
No municipality can afford having a 39 percent delinquency list.
By Ron Gower