Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Trash talk in Pointe Coupee Parish

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NEW ROADS - About one in 20 people in Pointe Coupee Parish don't pay their garbage bill but still get service, according to parish officials.

That means out of about 10,000 parish customers, around 500 are skipping out on the bill.

"I think its very unfair. They're getting free service, getting free trash pick up and not paying their fees," said parish resident Gladys Goza.

The garbage bill is $18.50 a month and when you do the math that's about $110,000 a year the cash strapped parish isn't receiving.

"We've always tried to collect that debt. It's a personal responsibility of our customers to pay because it takes all of us paying to make our system work," said parish administrator Jim Bello.

Most residents in the parish pay their garbage bill with other utilities such as water or electricity, and some are billed separately.

Bello says that's where the bulk of the problem is.

"When we direct bill a customer just for garbage, sometimes if they don't want to be forth coming, they get around us."

There's a plan in the works that would allow the constable's office's small claims court to go after those who don't pay.

"I'm hopeful. I believe when you actually put a person that has some legal authority on the front door steps serving subpoenas, that's a really a remedy we have yet to try," said Bello.

Residents say they're willing to give it a try.

"Justice, I want to see them pay their bill just like I do," said Goza.


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