State ruling: GSD can keep billing for trash collection
BY CAROLE CARLSON firstname.lastname@example.org/302-0949 March 21, 2014 5:24PM
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 23, 2014 6:12AM
GARY — The Gary Sanitary District has won a state appeal, affirming the district’s trash-billing practices.
A group of citizens argued they did not want to pay for the trash collection service, just for sewage service.
Earlier this week, the city said the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission issued an order that affirmed the GSD’s practice that adheres to a city ordinance, which states residents can’t opt out of the services.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, who serves as special administrator for the GSD, hailed the victory.
“Clearly this is a win for GSD as they work to improve the collection rate for their services,” Freeman-Wilson said. “Trash collection and sewer maintenance are services that we all must use. It is not fair for only a portion of the population to pay their bills while everyone benefits.”
Under GSD’s billing, all payments are first applied to trash collection and then sewage. If a bill is unpaid, the GSD instructs the Indiana American Water Co. to disconnect water service until the customer has paid.
More than 18,000 customer accounts were delinquent in 2012, as the district had an overall collection rate below 40 percent.
A public utility, the Gary Sanitary District provides sanitary sewer services to residents of Gary, Merrillville, Hobart and Lake Station, and trash collection and disposal services to Gary residents.