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Harrison residents not paying garbage bills is ‘root problem’ of dumping, commissioner says

Brian C. Rittmeyer
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Brian C. Rittmeyer | Tribune-Review
Garbage is dumped behind empty homes in an alley between Spruce and Walnut streets in Harrison’s Natrona neighborhood on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019.

As Harrison grapples with the problem of garbage dumping, a commissioner will propose publicizing the names of residents who are not paying their garbage bills.

More than 500 residential garbage accounts are delinquent in Harrison, which Commissioner Charles Dizard said is “the root problem” behind a garbage issue that arose last week in the township’s Natrona neighborhood.

“Waste Management does not collect garbage on delinquent accounts,” he said. “As a result, some households are choosing to toss their garbage in nearby vacant lots.”

Natrona resident Conrad Zylinski recently said garbage piling up behind vacant homes in his neighborhood is “a cancer.”

Harrison started a three-year contract for garbage collection with Waste Management starting in January 2018. The quarterly cost increased from $41.40 to $63 — a 52 percent increase.

Some residents complained about the increased cost. The new contract includes unlimited pickup of household waste and bulk items, which the previous agreement with Morrow Refuse had not.

Waste Management had been the lower of two bidders; Morrow had not submitted a bid.

Dizard said he has proposed that the township send letters to the more than 500 households informing them they are in violation of a township ordinance that requires all residents to “arrange and contract with the collector designated by the township for the collection, removal and disposal of all solid waste and recyclables,” which is currently Waste Management.

“If they do not reactivate their garbage service with Waste Management, they will be subject to legal citations and fines,” Dizard said. “In addition, the delinquent accounts will be posted on the township’s website.”

Dizard said he’ll make this proposal at the Monday, Feb. 25 regular commissioners meeting.

For the garbage already dumped, such as near Zylinski’s home, Dizard said the township will send letters to the individual property owners citing them for ordinance violations and will posts the properties.

“After a legal waiting period, township public works will enter the property and clean it up, using township equipment and a Waste Management dumpster,” he said.

Before the regular public meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 25, commissioners will have a public agenda meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Brian Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter @BCRittmeyer.