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Sanitation fee re-added to some customer’s bills; letters don’t account for list

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By Beth Braden

Some Jellico Electric and Water System customers may notice higher bills after the town tacked formerly unpaid sanitation fees onto the charges.

During a Dec. 4 special called meeting, the mayor and board of aldermen was presented a list of 34 residential and 27 commercial customers who have not paid sanitation fees. That was set to change with the bills mailed out in December.

Jellico resident Amanda Gurganas was one of the citizens listed. She has rented her home for almost four years.

“Sanitation has not been on [the] bill, and if it was on my bill, I gladly would have paid it,” she said.

Her bill for service dates Sept. 15 through Oct. 29 did not have sanitation charges. The bill for dates Oct. 30 through Nov. 27 added a sanitation charge of $15.

“I’m just sorry this is going on. I had no idea,” she said.

There is an ordinance on the books that says residential and commercial customers must pay sanitation fees if they receive other utility service, according to Mayor Les Stiers.  A response to a Freedom of Information Act request was unanswered as of press time, though Stiers said he was making a “concerted effort” to find the ordinance.

The University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service was able to provide a basic sanitation ordinance for Jellico. MTAS typically catalogs ordinances for towns, and they are in the process of updating the list of Jellico’s ordinances, according to Margaret Norris, the MTAS representative for this area.

The following ordinance regarding sanitation is what’s on file at MTAS. It’s dated 1993. More recent versions were not available.

17 109.Service fees.  The following monthly fees are established for the collection and removal of refuse:

• The monthly fee for residential customers shall be five dollars ($5.00) per month.

• The monthly fee for commercial customers without dumpsters shall be eleven dollars ($11.00) per month.

• The monthly fee for commercial customers with dumpsters shall be two dollars and ten cents ($2.10) multiplied by the cubic yard capacity of the dumpster multiplied by the number of pickups each month.

• Billing of service fee.  The service fee for collection and removal of refuse by the City of Jellico, shall be included as a separate item each month on the bills rendered by the Jellico Electric & Water System, for electricity, water, and sewer bills.  The aforesaid charge shall be rendered on the first utility bills sent from and after July 1st, 1990, and for each month thereafter.

•  Refuse delivered into corporate limits of the City of Jellico, Tennessee for disposal will be considered littering.  Penalty for littering shall be $50.00 plus cost.

•  The board of mayor and aldermen shall by resolution within thirty days (30) hereafter establish such definitions, guidelines, rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement this section and as may be necessary for the collection and assessing of the fees established herein.  This section and fees imposed hereby shall be administered in conformity with such resolution as the board may adopt.  (Ord. #4 90, June 1990, as amended by Ord. #6, July 1993)

A set of letters from former town recorder Linda Douglas to the utility company outlines the details of how some areas became excluded from sanitation fees, though the 27 letters account for only seven individuals on the list compiled by the Jellico Electric and Water Service.

“The only thing we get is they’ll send a notice over here to turn on or turn off,” said Jellico Electric and Water System General Manager Billy Rowe. “As far as they keep mentioning everybody like, but I don’t have a city ordinance.”

The letters date back to Nov. 20, 2007, and are as recent as Oct. 19.

“Please be advised that the above resident [sic] is unoccupied and there is nothing but electric service. Please discontinue sanitation fee of $12. If possible, deduct from the $12 from her November billing [sic],” read the letter.

“Please eliminate sanitation charges to the house on 992 Fifth Street owned by First State Financial. They have cut the water off and the house is for rent,” said another.

One of the letters says it was carbon copied to Stiers, though he said he had no recollection of ever seeing the note.

John Davenport owns a building on Main Street that was not being charged for sanitation.

“That’s probably downtown. That’s a closed building. We keep electric on just to keep for like the alarm system and whatnot, so we didn’t need garbage pick up there,” he said.

“John Davenport has terminated utility services at 208 N. Main Street (had been rented by Amy Creekmore). Ms. Creekmore’s business has closed,” the corresponding letter said.

“If we don’t have a tenant, we don’t need trash pick up,” Davenport said.

 

The follwing list of residents and businesses formerly exempt from the sanitation fee was distributed to the mayor and aldermen during the Dec. 4 special call meeting. Those customers are now being  charged.

 

Residential customers

• Clarence Beck

• Arnold Bennet

• Robert Scott Bishop

• Billy Bowlin

• Jerry L. Bowlin

• John Davenport

• Warren Davis

• Amy Douglas

• Billy C. Douglas

• Donnie Douglas

• Donnie E. Douglas

• Donnie Ray Douglas

• Sue or Alvin Evans

• Amanda Kaye Gurganas

• George Hackler II – Accounted for in letter from 1/22/09, unoccupied rental property

• Glen Heatwole

• Jesse Jeffers

• Christy L. Johnson

• Preston Lambdin – Accounted for in letter from 12/20/11, unoccupied rental property

• Jeremey Don Lawson

• Allen McClary

• Pat McClary

• Ray Maiden

• Ray Marsee

• Earl David Morgan

• Charles O’Hara

• Carl Lee Perkins

• Dallas G. Redmon

• Patricia or Tamara Silcox

• Tracy A. Silcox

• William Siler – Accounted for in letter from 4/21/10, per former mayor Foster Baird

• Mandy Stephens

• Leonard Terry

• Greg Wilkens

 

Commercial customers

• Alvin Evans Furniture – Accounted for in letter from 9/28/08

• Appalachia Health

• Campbell Ice Inc.

• Church of God

• Community Activity Center

• Crouches Creek Baptist Church

• Crouches Creek Baptist Church

• Cup of Blessing

• David Escalante – Accounted for in letter from 2/11/08, unoccupied rental

• First Baptist Church

• First Christian Church

• Jellico Church of God

• Jellico Drug Rental 3

• Jellico Drug Store (Coca Cola)

• Jellico Hardware

• Jellico Lodge 527

• Jellico Methodist Church

• Jerry Sharp

• John Davenport - Accounted for in letter from 4/23/12, unoccupied rental

• Southeast Broadcasting

• Subway

• Tannery Hollow Baptist Church

• Valley Fuel Company

• Vonda Haun Arcade