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300 homes facing loss of garbage service

Arrow Disposal Service will be sending out notices today warning some 300 county garbage customers that their service will be cut off unless they pay their bills.

Gentry Shows, senior vice president, spoke Tuesday to the Marengo County Commission. Arrow has the current garbage disposal contract for the county, and their service began Oct. 1, 2003.

There are approximately 3,100 people signed up for the service, Shows said. “About 350 of those are Social Security exemptions. We’re picking those up, per the contract, free of charge.”

Approximately 350 of the remaining customers have not made a payment since Oct. 1, despite repeated billing by Arrow, he said. The last bill was sent out on Feb. 1, and phone calls have been made to some of the delinquent customers.

Shows told commissioners that letters will go out today, and the nonpaying customers must pay in 10 days or their service will be cut off. The garbage cart will be picked up, and their names will be turned over to John Bell, the solid waste enforcement officer for the county.

“We want to do everything we can to keep the people on the service,” Shows said. “We don’t want them off the service. If we’ve got less customers, therefore our numbers we projected when we put this bid together (for the county contract) … we can’t make money.”

Bell said he intends to prosecute those who don’t take advantage of the last chance to pay their bill. The county needs to keep people on the service, he said. “We’ve got a lot of criminal littering going on in this county. I guess it’s about as bad right now as it’s ever been. We have facilities for garbage to be disposed of properly.”

The commission has previously passed a resolution to pay $100 to anyone who turned in a case of criminal littering that was successfully prosecuted, said commission chairman Max Joiner.

“It’s in everybody’s best interest if we get as many customers on line as possible,” said commissioner Ken Tucker. “You can’t keep carrying people who won’t pay.”

There is not a local office to pay Arrow bills. Commissioner Freddie Armstead suggested the county might look into providing an office for people to pay their bills.