Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Officials among the Tardy on E. St. Louis Trash Bills

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Officials among the Tardy on E. St. Louis Trash Bills

Article excerpt

The list of who's late in paying trash bills in East St. Louis was starting to read like a list of Who's Who in the city.

Now, those tardy community leaders - who included a state representative, a city councilman and a school board member - are paying up. And city officials hope the rest of the procrastinators will do the same.

Lisa Moore, the city's billing director, said the increase in payments is due to "enforced collection efforts" and publicity. About 1,600 property owners are in arrears. About 120 of those are on a "stop-service list," meaning their trash won't be picked up. The city is adding to that list every week, Moore said. Under the city's agreement with a private trash hauler, the city collects money for trash pickups from residents and other property owners and then turns the money over to the hauler, Waste Management of Metro East. According to a company computer printout dated March 26, East St. Louis customers owed the city more than $888,000. Last week, the city agreed to go into its own pocket and pay the trash hauler $400,000 of the bill. The money is to be repaid to the city by accelerated collections from residents. Many leaders in the community "knew they owed their trash bills," Moore said. "For whatever reason, they put it on the back burner. Now they know the city is in a really bad crunch as far as paying our contractor, and they know they're part of the problem and have to do something about it. Now they're paying their fair share. I don't think they'll let it get delinquent again." Among those who had fallen behind was Bruce Stennis, who is the city's health and safety officer and who is part of the collection effort. His job is to enforce the city's sanitation code by citing violators. Officials said Stennis now has paid his trash bill in full. …

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