- Many residents in Bremerton, WA could lose collection services if they don't settle up with Waste Management (WM) for years of unpaid bills. About 1,000 accounts have already received collection notices.
- In 2014, roughly 20% of customers had unpaid bills and WM lost out on $338,000. In 2015, the company lost out on an estimated $500,000.
- Letters have been sent to customers who didn't pay in April or May. Warning phone calls and cart tags will also be placed. If no payment is made accounts will be canceled by July 31 and written off and sent to collections by Sept. 30.
City officials have required collection regardless of payment for years due to public health concerns, but changed course after WM reached out for help.
The loss of money from a 9.5% utility tax on collection services may have also been a factor. The reasons for this non-payment can vary. According to the Kitsap Sun, many of the worst offenders from last year had gone out of business. Others had assumed that bill disputes were resolved because their waste kept getting picked up.
The Sun reported that other cities have taken more aggressive approaches for non-payment. Erie, PA published the list of delinquent accounts on its website and Eureka, CA eventually placed the amount on property tax bills.
WM is confident that the plan will work. In 2014, the company stopped service for 300 customers in Kitsap County and 75% paid their bills. If any garbage begins to pile up, residents or businesses could also be fined by the city.