- Special Sections
- Public Notices
I want to comment on my lawsuit in Grayson County Circuit Court against county officials involved in assessment and collection of the solid waste collection fee.
The treasurer of Grayson County, one of the defendants named, has received considerable criticism. This is because his office mailed draft civil warrants to hundreds of Grayson citizens who have not paid their trash fees.
Many objected to receiving warrants because they had not received a bill for the trash fee, and thus did not know it was unpaid.
Penalties set out in Section IX of the ordinance for violations of the ordinance (including nonpayment of fees) are criminal.
Our board of supervisors made nonpayment of the fee a Class II misdemeanor, subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail.
The supervisors made the treasurer’s office, Grayson County Sheriff’s Department, town police, and the Grayson Health Department, responsible for enforcement.
This means the treasurer was directed to issue criminal charges for non-payment of the trash fee.
Which means that citizens who have declined to pay the fee because no services have been received would be placed in the position of defending themselves against the “crime” of not paying for a service not requested nor received.
We are not talking about tax evasion, we are talking about criminal penalties for nonpayment of a utility fee.
Can you imagine the outcry if Appalachian Power Co. could put you in jail for not paying an electric bill?
Or if Appalachian Power could put you in jail for not paying an electric bill for a property at which there was no electrical service?
The treasurer should be commended for realizing the absurdity of penalties in the ordinance, and for creativity in attempting to enforce the ordinance in another manner.
I find it disingenuous that a member of the board has been quoted publicly as saying he will “look into what the treasurer’s office has been doing,” when the treasurer’s office has been doing what the supervisors directed, albeit in a more sensitive way than the supervisors contemplated.
Amanda Bland Waller