By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – Supervisors denied separate requests to relinquish a hold placed on car tags stemming from unpaid garbage bills.
Jamie McCammon and James Campbell made similar pleas, telling county officials that unpaid garbage bills were not connected to them during the “first Monday” meeting in Water Valley.
McCammon spoke first and threatened to sue the county after supervisors did not back down. His complaint stemmed from a house he owned that was leased out for two years.
During that time the lessee did not pay the garbage bill and McCammon, as the property owner, was assessed the charge and a hold was placed on his car tag.
McCammon stressed he had notified the county’s garbage department that he no longer lived at the residence and was adamant that he did not owe the bill.
“I still have not got a bill today, I didn’t know anything about it,” McCammon told supervisors.
The county’s garbage department clerk, Donna Massey, who also attended the meeting, told supervisors that she quit sending a bill after it was returned when McCammon moved to Arizona.
But McCammon countered, telling supervisors that his wife had called the garbage department twice, telling them to cut off his garbage service.
“Evidently somebody dropped the ball. Where do I need to start the paperwork. Do I need to sue her?” McCammon asked, pointing to Massey. “Do I need to sue you?” he asked again, pointing to Board Attorney John Crow.
“You can have it, buddy, you can have at it,” Crow answered.
“I got proof that I wasn’t living there,” McCammon continued.
“Have you read the garbage ordinance?” Crow asked.
“No,” McCammon ans-wered.
“The garbage ordinance applies to you, not to him,” Crow continued, referring to the ordinance which specifies that owner of the house can ultimately be assessed the garbage fees.
“Mr. McCammon, it is quite known that you float around a lot. It is probably because we didn’t know where you were. I am telling you, pursuant to that ordinance, that ultimately it is your responsibility to make sure that bill is paid. You need to go to your renter and get him to reimburse you. That’s who you need to sue, your renter,” Crow advised.
“That is not possible, the man is dead, there is no way he is going to shut up. I didn’t have anything to do with that either, not over a $200 bill,” McCammon answered.
Board President Amos Sims then attempted to cut off the conversation, evoking another plea from McCam-mon.
“That’s fine, I just need to know where to file the papers to (sue) the garbage people because they didn’t do their job. I am not paying for their negligence,” McCammon said.
“I was not negligent on that. I do my job the best I can,” Massey answered.
“I can attest that our garbage personnel does the job well,” Sims added.
“You own the land,” Crow explained again.
“But I don’t own the trash,” McCammon said. “They picked up his trash, not mine.”
“I understand that. But you own the land, it’s the land not the trash. Whoever owns that land, pursuant to this ordinance, is ultimately responsible for it,” Crow explained.
McCammon left, assessing blame on the garbage department for not alerting him that the trash bill was not paid.
Campbell was next to ask for relief, taking a more cordial approach as he explained that he had added his daughter’s name on his car tag. Three years later his name was flagged at the tax office and he could not purchase a tag because his daughter had a $264 unpaid garbage bill dating back almost 10 years.
Massey then provided a detailed history of the account, starting in 2000.
“If it is in your name, legally it can be flagged,” Crow added. “You see how people can come in here and say that is not my vehicle, or that is not her vehicle, I just got her name on it. You see how that can happen?” Crow asked.
“I see how I got caught up in in,” Campbell answered. “I just heard Mr. Crow tell this man before me that the garbage was picked up on his property. But this property is not mine. I am not going to get in a dispute, I am not going to go that far. If you say I owe that, I am going to get my hat on and get out of here. But that is not my bill,” Campbell countered.
‘You got a different situation because you don’t own the land. The problem you got you say that your daughter does not own that truck, but she is on that title,” Crow said.
“That’s an 11 year old bill. I am crying now, $264 is a lot to pay for somebody else’s garbage,” Campbell said as he left the meeting.
“James (Campbell), I hate you got caught up in a situation like that,” Sims said.
Following the hearings, District One Supervisor Tommy Vaughn had strong words for unpaid bills.
“You see what we deal with garbage bills. I know the board supports what I am going to say. I am not addressing Mr. McCammon or Mr. Campbell. But there is $200,000 owed on garbage bills. We got a stack of people this thick that will go through an act of Congress to keep from paying $12 a month for a garbage bill. Nobody likes to pay a bill, especially a garbage bill. When someone moves into a house and a can is put in front of that house, we are obligated to pay R.E.S. every month whether that owner pays or not.”
“If you don’t pay your garbage bill, we are having to pay your garbage bill for you and I am tired of it. And I think the taxpayers in this county are tired of paying everybody’s garbage bill. The same thing with car tags. When you go to Oxford to buy car tags, you are supporting their school system hospital, library and all that. You are not supporting your home. Do what you want to, but I am tired of paying for other people’s mistakes and I think the majority of people in this county are,” Vaughn concluded.