Thursday, June 9, 2005
That's Just Wrong: Garbage Problem
For most of us, paying the bills every month is hard enough. But for one South Florida woman, paying is a problem because she was told her garbage pickup would be free. Tonight, this single mother of two is telling us that's just wrong.
WSVN -- Mae German is a busy mother of two teenagers.
Mae: "I don't have any help. So the little money I do get, I really need it for them."
So, when she went looking for an apartment she chose one in public housing that included most of her utilities.
Mae: "They're saying when I moved here, on the lease, when I talked to them in the rent office that I had the lights and the water bill. They didn't tell me i had a garbage bill."
But when her bill arrived, there was a $30 dollar charge for garbage.
Mae: "So I went to the landlord, and I explained it to him. So he said we weren't supposed to pay the garbage, that he was responsible for it."
The landlord wrote Mae this letter, which clearly states the garbage is paid for by the Broward County housing authority. Mae sent the letter to the county garbage collectors.
Mae: "But they wouldn't respond to it."
And every month when she gets her bill, the charge is included.
Mae: "The way things is now, I think maybe it's a rip-off."
And that has her saying: That's just wrong.
Mae: "I'm trying to get somebody to help me with me and my two kids."
It took quite a few phone calls but we finally sorted all this out. Mae was receiving the bill from Broward County, so that's who she called.
But they were only collecting the money for the city of Fort Lauderdale, and the city was never notified that there was a problem.
David Herbert from the City of Fort Lauderdale: "She was being billed twice. Once through the landlord, the housing authority and once individually. We didn't even know about this situation until you brought it to our attention and we're glad you did."
Turns out Mae is not alone. There are a number of public housing units in recently annexed areas where tenants are being billed for trash.
Because of our investigation the city is now double-checking their records.
And for Mae -- the good news is she gets her money back.
David Herbert from the City of Fort Lauderdale: "We're going to make sure that's taken care of and rectified through the county and make sure she is made whole again."
And that money is being put to good use. Mae's planning on buying a present for her children.
Mae: "Buy a pair of shoes or a pair of pants or something for school."
Fort Lauderdale Garbage Pickup
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