Macon-Bibb County residents are now receiving their first annual garbage bills in the mail.
The first bill, mailed out last week, is for $300 and covers payments from the final three months of this year through the end of 2018. Starting next September, property owners will pay a yearly $240 fee that will be a line item on property tax bills.
Homeowners may be able to avoid having to making a one time payment in future years if their mortgage company agrees to add the fee to the escrow, thus allowing monthly payments.
"I can budget $20 a month ... instead of worrying about receiving it every quarter and writing a $60 check, which is what we used to do," Macon-Bibb County Tax Commissioner Wade McCord said.
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Also, anyone can make smaller payments prior to the bills being sent out, which means they won't have to pay the full amount at one time, he said.
The switch from $60 quarterly payments to annual billing was not met without some controversy. Some Macon-Bibb commissioners said it was unfair to place the burden of annual bills on residents.
This summer, Mayor Robert Reichert vetoed a quarterly payment ordinance that had reversed an earlier decision to move to yearly bills.
Some concessions were made to the annual billing ordinance, among which included holding off an a planned rate increase and allowing disabled and low-income seniors to apply for a waiver exempting them from billing.
The new payment method has the goal of increasing the percentage of collections since it will be attached to property tax bills, which routinely have a higher payment rate than garbage bills, county officials have said.
The Tax Commissioner's Office has a variety of ways people can make payments, including at the Tax Commissioner's Office, over the phone and online.
Stanley Dunlap, 478-744-4623