Trash lawsuit to come over "thousands"

- Friday, Republic Services announced they are beginning a review of the city of San Angelo accounts to determine if unapproved fees were charged to businesses and whether fee reimbursements may be necessary.

Also, an Austin-based company said they plan to sue Republic, on behalf of San Angelo businesses, over the potential over-charge.
Texas Disposal Systems representatives said the company intends to file a lawsuit against Republic Services by Friday of next week. The lawsuit will focus on the 2,000 commercial accounts which may have been charged unnecessary fees.

For months, these commercial customers have been waiting to see what the city will do next after discovering the environmental recovery fee is not in the city ordinance.

Thursday, Acme Iron and Metal, a San Angelo business owned by Texas Disposal Systems, announced plans to file a lawsuit against Republic Services for charging residential customers fees not approved by city council for more than a decade.

"We believe, based on the estimates that we have, that... with interest...going back to the year 2000... it's an excess of 11.1-million-dollars," stated TDS Sales Manager, Rick Fraumann.

Acme Iron and Metal is also asking local business owners to sign a petition to give business more options, like Texas Disposal Systems, when it comes to who handles their trash.

One of the first to sign this petition was the owner of Mayfield Paper Company. A family business open since 1945, Stanley Mayfield said that he paid thousands of dollars that the city may not have authorized.

"If they're not authorized, there's several thousand dollars that we have paid that we should not have paid," explained Mayfield. "I feel like the city, since they have granted an exclusive contract, that they bare some responsibility to monitor that contract."

This December bill, from Mayfield Paper Company, shows almost $60 in an extra environmental recovery fee charge. Mayfield said, if the city did not authorize this fee, than he wants his money back.

"Numerous people have asked the city about these extra charges on the trash bills and, we're not getting a clear answer as to what charges are authorized and which are not," Mayfield continued. "So, we don't want to continue to pay fees that are not authorized and if, in fact, several thousand dollars has been paid we'd like to have it back. Simple."

Republic Services would not comment on camera. In a press release issued Friday, they announced a review of the San Angelo account saying they would refund any fees assessed in error.

This could not come at a more crucial time. On Tuesday, council will continue consideration of renewing their contract with Republic Services, which is up this July. If council has not come to a decision by July 31st, the city will not have a trash services company.

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