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Property owner wants garbage fees waived for vacant lot

County of Wetaskiwin tables request for housing details

A property owner will have to wait to see if she will be refunded for years of garbage pick-up at a vacant lot in the County of Wetaskiwin, as councilors tabled the issue during the Jan. 29 Public Works council meeting.

An agenda memo from Public Works superintendent Neil Powell stated, “On November 7, 2018 the Utilities Department was contacted by Kathy Goble regarding her properties at Mulhurst Bay. Currently they own two properties which are being charged garbage collection fees; however one of the lots is vacant (Utility Account 273356.01). Mrs. Goble requested that the fees no longer be levied against the vacant lot; and further requested refund of fees paid since inception of charges in January 2009.

“Section 3 Collection, subsection 3.a of the Waste Management By-law 2008/73 states: Mandatory fees will be charged to every lot eligible to receive the service; with the exception of vacant property. Vacant properties shall be defined as a property with no improvements or structure capable of occupancy (i.e. holiday trailers shall be considered as an improvement). Accounts receivable invoices will be sent out every second month according to the utility billing schedule.

“It is the responsibility of the landowner to report any changes in the use of their land. There is no correspondence on file prior to this request.

“Since the recent changes to the waste management by-law, there have been 37 service disconnects for garbage pickup County wide.”

County CAO Rod Hawken summarized by stating the property owner was getting two garbage bills for nine years.

Councilor Lyle Seely stated that a property owner shouldn’t get charged for a service they don’t get.

Councilor Kathy Rooyakkers noted the policy states landowners must notify the county if they don’t want garbage pick-up for specific properties.

Councilors discussed information suggesting there once was an RV or trailer of some kind on the lot in question, which means there may have been a need for garbage pick-up at one time.

They decided to table this issue to a future meeting after staff had enough time to investigate whether a residence or RV had once been there.