You've been warned: If you have an extra trash or recycling bin and you are not paying extra for it, turn it in or pay up. If you don't, you may have to pay as much as $400, El Paso city officials said Thursday.
Residents have from today through Sept. 14. to turn in their extra city bins without having to pay a penalty.
After that amnesty period, any resident with extra bins will have to pay a fee that could total up to $400 for two years of back charges, city officials said.
"The longer a customer waits to report the extra bins, the more expensive it will become due to the back charges for solid waste fees," said Environmental Services Department Director Ellen Smyth. "In some cases, fees will easily add up to hundreds of dollars."
Smyth said the environmental department got the idea for the crackdown from one of its employees.
Jesus Yamaguchi, a solid waste division supervisor, came up with the idea, and from there the department modeled it after the book amnesty program of the El Paso Public Library.
"Basically we just put in a new order of bins, and the costs have gone up," Smyth said. "We are looking for ways to keep the costs down."
All solid waste customers in the city are provided one gray bin for trash and a blue bin for recyclables by the city Environmental Services Department.
Extra bins are available for a monthly fee of $16 plus tax.
"If you have two containers but you're only paying for one, that is more than a $200 a year of revenue that the city is not getting," Smyth said. "We just want our bins back."
City officials estimate that one of every 75 households has an extra bin it is not paying for.
Environmental Services estimates that the city loses out on about $500,000 a year from the extra bins that not being paid for, Smyth said.
"That's almost half a million dollars we think we are missing out on," she said.
During the three-week amnesty period, residents can drop off their extra bins at one of the city's five Citizen Collection Stations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Residents can also call 621-6700 for Environmental Services to come collect the bins for free.
"After that amnesty period, we are going to do an aggressive audit," Smyth said. "We're going to go door to door with a clipboard the old-fashioned way, and we are going to check on what you have."
If residents want to have two bins, they can as long as they pay the monthly fee for the extra.
"If you have two and you want to keep the extra one, you can as long as you fess up to it during the amnesty period," Smyth said. "Just ask for it to be added to your monthly bill. You will not be back-billed."
Trash bin amnesty details:
Residents can turn in their extra gray trash bin or blue recycle bin without having to pay a fee during a three week amnesty period beginning Friday and ending Sept 14.
When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Where: Citizen Collection Stations at:
4501 Hondo Pass
Author:Humberto Alcazar Phone: 915-727-5433 Dated: August 25th 2012 Views: 2,921 About Humberto: I am lifelong El Pasoan who has seen El Paso grow from a small town in 1965 to the large city it is ...
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