Williams City Council passes ordinance to address Recology’s delinquent accounts

Under a new ordinance adopted by the Williams City Council last week, Recology – the company that provides trash collection service to all of Colusa County – will have an easier time collecting on delinquent accounts, and from Williams residences receiving trash collection services without having an account set up.

The new ordinance, which was up for a second reading last week, will require accounts to be placed in the name of the owner of every residential property receiving trash collection service, even if the owner does not reside at the property. It will also require property owners to have an account and to pay the applicable monthly charge for services, even if the owner does not request service. Most significantly for residential property owners in the city and for the company, the ordinance will allow the city to place delinquent garbage collection service charges as a lien and special assessment on the tax roll.

The ordinance was approved unanimously after a motion by Councilmember Charles Bergson and a second by John Troughton, Jr. It came in response to a request by Recology in August. During the council’s August meeting, Recology Customer Service Manager Melissa Percifield said that her company was “facing a dilemma with delinquent accounts.” Percifield said then that the current system of collecting on delinquent accounts, established in 2014, was too burdensome for Recology.

“Long story short, what happened was, once we looked at the ordinance, the refuse service is supposed to follow the same procedures as the water service,” Percifield said in August. “So, either the water gets turned off or we place a true lien on the property. We were going to have to actually fill out a form and get it notarized for each property, and we wouldn’t get our money until the house sold. That’s not a procedure we wanted to run with.”

At that time, the total amount due for Williams residents was $171,000. The past-due amounts were $132,000.

“It’s a significant amount,” she said.

She added that the past due amount would be sent to a collection agency, but added that Recology didn’t want to continue with that process.

As a part of their agreement with the City of Williams, Recology agreed to service the accounts whether they pay or not, Percifield said. During one of the company’s recent route audits, they found about 50 residences that had Recology containers but no account.

Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at brian@colusacountynews.net