Waste charges upset ECC

Published 11:20 am Wednesday, June 29, 2005

By By Mary-Allison Lancaster
Escambia County Solid Waste Disposal Authority revealed last Monday morning that BFI has been attaching a sir charge on commercial customers. One county commissioner was personally affected by the additional charge.
Commissioner Wiley Tait told committee members he was managing the account this time and noticed a "fuel recovery fee" had been added to his bill. Tait's wife typically handles the bills,
The sir charge for Tait was rounded out to nearly $15 a month. Authority members were uncertain whether the sir charge varied upon services or if it was a standard fee for other customers affected by the charge.
According to Commissioner David Stokes, who is a member of the authority, he said that a clause in the agreement with BFI states that when fuel prices rise, BFI has the authority to implement a fuel recovery sir charge. However, he said it also clearly states that before a sir charge is implemented the additional fee must be presented and approved by the committee.
According to the authority, BFI never contacted any officials and authority members were unaware of the timeframe on how long the fee had been attached to area bills.
"We certainly need to stop charges because they haven't been approved," Stokes said.
Since the fee has continued to be added, the authority is requesting that BFI cease charges for the fuel adjustment cost, and refund any collected fees they have received from all the customers charged, Chairman Larry White said.
BFI then must come back to the authority to acquire authorization for a fuel adjustment sir charge.
"They violated the contract and it should be mandatory" that they come to the board for approval," said Allen Pettis, an authority member.
Committee members will be sending BFI a notice about the discrepancy and will attach a copy of the contract with the highlighted portions that BFI must come to the authority before the sir charge is added.
The number of charges to commercial customers was uncertain by authority members. BFI contract manager Barry Barter was out of town and unavailable for comment.
The members of the authority consists of Stokes, Todd Williamson, William Brown, Tait, White, Bill Bridges, county engineer and Pettis.

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