It’s Earth Day, so it seems natural to talk trash. At its Monday caucus, Scranton City Council will hear from Northeast Revenue Service, the firm that apparently has had little success collecting almost $17 million in delinquent garbage fees.
An ongoing Times-Tribune investigation revealed that about 25% of Scranton property owners have gotten away with blowing off their bills since at least 2002. The list includes many who draw paychecks from publicly funded jobs. NRS representatives John Rodgers, Sean Shamany, and Kirsha Johns will be there to update council and answer questions.
Here’s one to break the ice: “What is Scranton getting out of its contract with Northeast Revenue Services?”
Penalties, interest and costs make up about half of the the $16.8 million in delinquencies, according to a an analysis by Times-Tribune City Reporter Jim Lockwood. His breakdown shows $9.66 million in face values and penalties on 26,524 delinquent trash fee accounts. The city gets face value plus penalties when a late bill is paid. NRS gets 15 percent of delinquent fees and interest, per its 2012 contract with the city.
The longer these fees go uncollected, the more NRS stands to profit. Council should use tonight’s caucus to address this costly disincentive. The regular meeting starts at 6 p.m.. Council should use it to move this debacle closer to a resolution.