FOX 8 Investigates: HANO pays city thousands of dollars - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

FOX 8 Investigates: HANO pays city thousands of dollars

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New Orleans, La. -

The Housing Authority of New Orleans has paid the city $11,000 after a FOX 8 investigation revealed they owed past due sanitation fees.

$9 million -- that's how much money the City of New Orleans is owed in past due sanitation fees.  Residents owe, businesses owe, and until last week, the Housing Authority of New Orleans also owed money.

"People who use garbage services need to pay for it and we have to find a way to collect because it's not fair to ask people to pay more if we're not collecting from everybody," Mayor Mitch Landrieu said.

A FOX 8 investigation into past due fees revealed HANO owed about $11,000.

Earlier this month, HANO Administrative Receiver David Gilmore released a statement to FOX 8, saying, "We believe that we are current with the Sewerage and Water Board.  But, if Sewerage and Water Board believes we are not current, we expect that they would notify us before the interruption of any services."

That notification never came.  HANO had their own accountant take a look at the records following FOX 8's news inquiries.  Then, they paid the city $11,300.

HANO says they're only paying for properties that have trash picked up by the city. But the city records provided to FOX 8 by the Sewerage and Water Board show that HANO owes even for properties where they pick up their own trash.  One example is in the 4200 block of Tchoupitoulas Street.  

Mayor Landrieu admits some city records are flawed. "I've said this from the beginning, the bookkeeping in City Hall has always been problematic and we've been trying to reconcile them over a long period of time," Landrieu told FOX 8.

In an effort to get back some of the millions of dollars owed to the city in past due sanitation fees, Landrieu has proposed shutting off water to people who don't pay.  But if HANO was never notified that they owed thousands of dollars, how would other Orleans Parish residents know they owe?

The mayor says it's something his administration is working on, explaining, "Eventually we will get there. We think we are putting new processes in place that will catch most of that stuff."

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