Mayor plans to collect millions in unpaid sanitation fees - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Mayor Landrieu plans to collect millions in unpaid sanitation fees

Updated:
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
New Orleans, La. -

Mayor Mitch Landrieu proposes a new plan to collect $9 million owed to the city in past due sanitation fees.

Monday, as part of his 2013 budget presentation, Landrieu announced his plans to get tough on people who don't pay saying, "By amending current law we want the Sewerage and Water Board to be able to turn off water when the sanitation fee becomes delinquent after notice."

As FOX 8 first reported earlier this year, thousands of people haven't paid their bills.  Some residents only owe a few hundred dollars, others thousands.  

According to Sewerage and Water Board records, the owner of a property in the 900 block of St. Ann Street in the French Quarter owes $12,000.

In May, FOX 8 met Barbara Reese who admitted she couldn't afford to pay her bill. "I didn't have the money to do it because I'm disabled, I'm retired you know," Reese said at the time.

But we also found Tuesday a number of tenants who say they had no idea their landlords weren't paying their sanitation fees, even though the landlords are in charge of their water bills.

One woman named Wendy, who didn't want her face shown on camera, said, "I guess I'll contact my landlord and see if she even heard or knows first before I get too upset. I mean, I've got a little kid."

Our records show the owner of a building in the 2100 block of Thalia Street owes $9500. Tenants of the building say, despite the fact that Sewerage and Water Board records show the landlord hasn't been paying sanitation fees for years, they've never had a disruption in trash pick-up. In fact, Richards Disposal trash cans sit in front of the building.

Mayor Landrieu says more people have moved into the city, meaning more people need their trash picked up. He says there isn't money in the budget for additional homes. So that's why he plans on asking the city council to help him enforce the fees, and turn off water to homes that aren't paying.

"We want the City Council to give us more leverage to aggressively pursue those who refuse to pay their sanitation fee," Landrieu said.

A spokesman for the mayor says the City Council should be receiving the proposal within the next month. They'll have final say on whether the proposal should become law.

We reached out to council members Tuesday. They say they can't comment until they receive the formal proposal from the mayor.

We also tried to reach the owners of the properties mentioned in this report, but were unsuccessful.

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