LAWRENCEVILLE -- Two years after implementing a countywide trash hauling service, officials say survey results show success.
But a long-awaited discount program for seniors and vacant property owners, still under evaluation, is still a year away.
County officials received an update this week on the program, which was implemented after a lawsuit settlement with five local trash haulers. The 2010 change was controversial because it divvied up the county among the five haulers instead of giving homeowners a choice on trash service.
Tom Keith, the county's solid waste director, said he expects the $18.16 monthly fee for 2011 -- which was charged as a total of $217.92 on tax bills -- to remain about the same this year.
But if commissioners approve a proposed tax break, seniors meeting certain homestead exemption requirements could save between 15 and 25 percent in 2013. That amounts to $33 to $55.
Keith said the exemptions would apply to about 15,000 and cost the program about $509,000. "We'd have to look at a revenue source to pay for that," he said, adding that commissioners are considering a range of options.
To assuage another series of complaints that homeowners are paying for trash service at vacant homes, commissioners are considering another exemption for the approximately 1,500 properties on the county's vacant structure registry. That would cost the program another $22,000 to $23,000, Keith said.
Officials are waiting for feedback before the exemptions are scheduled for a vote, Keith said, which means the earliest they could be applied is next year.
He said there were no proposals on the table to take the solid waste payments off of tax bills, a source of angst that led to a recent lawsuit, which was dismissed last month.
But Keith was proud to report the results of a December survey, where 92 percent of the 4,500 respondents said the county's solid waste division service is good or exceptional and 86 percent had the same favorable rating for their trash hauler.