Public purse owed nearly $9M rubbish fees

| 09/08/2017 | 66 Comments

(CNS): Government recently issued a notice urging business operators, owners and strata groups to pay their outstanding garbage fees as people in arrears could lose their trade and business or other relevant commercial licences. Officials from the Department of Environmental Health have now confirmed to CNS that there is an outstanding balance of around $8.9 million in fees for rubbish collection that has not been paid. Although much of this stretches back many years, more than $2.7 million has accumulated over the last six years since the end of the July 2011 financial year.

It is understood that the main challenge public officials face collecting fees is the lack of any real sanctions against those that don’t pay and there is no system in place to collect the cash, with the DEH depending on those who are liable for fees to voluntarily go to the office to pay. Fees range from as little as $100 per year for an ordinary residential house to as much as $15,000 for a large hotel.

The UDP 2009-12 administration waived some fees when they introduced other taxes and additional duties during the budget challenges that government faced. But it has never been clear exactly how long that was for and who it impacted, though it has certainly led to the continued failure of many people to pay fees over the last six years.

However, the DEH is now warning that it will not recommend approval for those businesses with accounts in arrears when they apply for renewal of or new trade and business, hotel, liquor or any other commercial licence unless these fees are paid and premises are in compliance with other public and environmental health requirements. Officials also said that residential fee payers at non-licensed properties could see their garbage collection interrupted it they do not promptly settle these arrears. 

The challenge faced by the DEH in collecting garbage fees could have further repercussions other than a $9 million hole in the public finances. The department is about to embark on a request for proposals to tackle the long-awaited problem at the landfill and to introduce a much more comprehensive re-use and recycling programme as well as a waste-to energy component to meet government’s integrated waste-management policy.

Given that there will be a public payment component towards the collection of garbage and recycling, whichever private sector partner secures the contract and joins force with government on the project, the issue of fees and their collection is bound to play a major part.

In the meantime, however, the DEH is making an appeal for everyone who owes garbage fees to go to any local post office or at the DEH’s main office at 580 North Sound Road from 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday, and pay what is due. People in the Sister Islands are asked to go to the District Administration office.

To query account balances, contact the DEH on 949-6696 or email [email protected]

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Category: Local News

Comments (66)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    the more politicians have…the more they spend? dont wirry..be happy!😮




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  2. Anonymous says:

    It had proof that civil servants don’t care with their jobs..they are just lazy people…if it was private company they will make sure it is pay on time…if they don’t pay fees then DO NOT collect their trash..leave it till they pay..they will pay fast as they don’t want trash pile up outside condos or bar/restaurants




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    • Anonymous says:

      Many years ago Linford Pierson set up a “revenue enhancement committee “.
      A key piece of advice was to have CUC add the garbage fee to their monthly electricity bills (for a fee.). This is still a good idea and would save millions in govt. loss and administration cost.
      A well known politician shot it down at the time.




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    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t even have any trash pick up for my business, yet I am charged an annual trash fee, which I pay.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    Our strata complex ALWAYS paid our garbage fees on time. A few years ago DEH informed us that we no longer had to pay the fees… that only businesses were being charged. We have not received any invoice since then. So if the law has changed back that stratas do need to pay we have not been notified in all this time. #Confusion.




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    • Inept says:

      WOW!! Our Strata never got a reprieve in paying our fees. That is crazy to me I wonder how much of this 9M simply hasn’t been billed!!! Slackness. in this day and age how hard is it to open an account at the major banks so that we can pay online. A majority of that 9M is pure silliness on behalf of Govt!!!




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  4. Wahyaseh says:

    Let more private companies and more bins on site for sorting zero export cost on such prices go up everyday wages remain strike a deal for the balance owed public purse of 9 million only to export we have ship owners on islands billing can be sorted monthly with assistance from government not from those who believe they own the government a blast from the past. Rentals of government trucks and equipment would assist with also for those with appropriate business license there are so much things you can do but who cares. Im applying for business.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    Unbelievable. And yet the most unbelievable bit is at the end: “the department is about to embark on a request for proposals to tackle the long-awaited problem at the landfill”. We have already done that! Twice! Does this Island have no memory? UDP did it – consultants, request for proposals, even a contract with Wheelabrator (then litigation and a secret “settlement” payment to them). Then the PPM came in – more consultants, more talk, more RFPs. No action. Where are we now? “About to embark on request for proposals”. How much has all this inaction wasted? It would be a lot more than $9m I bet.




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  6. Anonymous says:

    Just another example of how third world Cayman has become. Yeah I am sure I am going to get many thumbs down and be told to pack up and go home, problem is, this is my home!

    Why is Government always letting things go out of control before they decide to start taking any action? The constant catering towards residents and businesses to avoid stepping on toes is just plain ridiculous.

    On another note – why is it that we have overflowing garbage containers sitting right in front of each yard and house all week long, rather than keep them around the side or in the garage and pull them out on the days where garbage is collected? Dogs, chickens, wind knocking over the garbage bins and all the garbage is all over the place………No pride in keeping this Island clean and tidy whatsoever.




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  7. Lo-cal says:

    Why is GOV so dumb? Just add it to the light bill amd give CUC 5% collection fee. They also have a list of customers on solar so you get everyone.

    Just make sure that the money goes to DEH as intended and not as a surplus to waive duty fees for big developers.

    Cayman needs a national ID which should be tied to all applications thereby linking all details together for things like this.




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    • Anonymous says:

      1) No To National ID; No To big Brother
      2) Which of the six CUC bills on my property are you going to tack the new monthly garbage fee on to? (Before you divide it equally, not all of those bills are for ‘things’ that generate garbage, at least not on an equal scale.)




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  8. Anonymous says:

    don’t worry, you can always raise work permit/business fees…..
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz




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  9. Anonymous says:

    civil service incompetence….
    if this happened in the private sector…heads would roll….




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    • Anonymous says:

      When I think of incompetence, I think of the civil service and manderson. Paying individuals to stay home.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    There is no reason for residences to be exempt from garbage fees. Charge $100/yr and issue a large/visible sticker for the trash cans. No sticker, no collection.

    If it’s not paid, deny the renewal of drivers license/vehicle registration/passport.

    Businesses should absolutely not have their Trade & Business License renewed if garbage fees are in arrears.




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    • Anonymous says:

      I think it was in 2009 that Government added 2% unto duties and took off the garbage fees for residential homes. also i think, later they took off the 2% added for business but still kept the 2 % on for the people importing items for themselves. so homes should still be garbage pickup free. Please correct me if i am wrong, thanks.’




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    • Anonymous says:

      While this is a reasonable suggestion I would be concerned that people would steal the trash cans with stickers on and use them as there own so that they don’t have to pay. 🙁




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    • Anonymous says:

      Try that in dog city/Windsor park..!




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  11. Anonymous says:

    collect it fro. the ritz carlton blunder…but govt cant? because they rich
    ..oh ok…we will harrass the poor…




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    • Anonymous says:

      or collect the funds from those that haven’t yet paid for status grants.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Ummm, who would not pay for their Status? Once you pay that fee, you are Caymanian and are golden. Maybe you are thinking of PR?




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  12. Anonymous says:

    govt owes 400 million of public money they wasting on social services over the past 5 yrs? most of those on social services can work…they get taxi and rent apt undervover and going rotten rich off hard working people that make an honest living by working?-😢😢😴🛁




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    • Anonymous says:

      10:44 you are right, i know a lot of people in the Brac is getting from social services that are healthy young/middle age adults (some are from Grand Cayman that come over here just to get on Social Services) some people here have good jobs , but the Govt. rent houses for them and pay their light/water bills etc. Alot of things have gotten out of hand here. Poor, very poor leadership, no one is held accountable.




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      • Anonymous says:

        The Brac is a simple case of social employment. There are people there so, we have to give them something to do, let’s create some jobs for them to administer each other. It’s basically a subsistence economy but what is being subsisted on is government largesse.




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  13. Anonymous says:

    G’ment can’t collect that $9m… statute of limitation… maximum they can realistically go after is the $2.7m…. we’ve never so much as had an invoice off them… how are we supposed to pay something we don’t know what is owed?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Statute of limitations would only apply if more than 6 years have elapsed since the last invoice or other attempt to collect.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Well I got an invoice 2 weeks ago. So not sure what your issue is…




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  14. Anonymous says:

    The Government is owed millions of dollars from businesses that can afford to pay and no one is trying to collect this money!! What a shame, and at the same time the Seafarers have been receiving a small sum of money each month for years now to help them to exist and no one has even thought to have this small amount of money increased, but yet these organizations can owe all these millions to Government and nothing is done to collect it. Same goes for all the PR seekers who owe government and are not paying and they can remain on Island and not pay. Some food for thought to think about today!!!




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    • Anonymous says:

      10:00 am, You are right about the seafarers, the Government treats the prisoners better than the seafarers, for they spend $ 66,000 ( 66 thousand) per year per prisoner and they only give the seamen $66,00 (66 hundred) per year, shame, shame.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t worry, coming soon. During the Election the Seamen was promised a 100% increase. Please just wait until the travelling is over.




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  15. Anonymous says:

    Issues like this arise when your government is more concerned about what they can pocket now before they’re kicked out of office, rather than looking forward 5-25 years to see what will develop into possibly catastrophic failures.




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  16. Anonymous says:

    In the real world, where most grown-ups live, invoices need to be mailed, and deemed officially “overdue” before the flailing of arms and outcry for justice. It’s a simple thing really. You mail/email the invoice to the property’s designated controller for review and then they can either query or pay it. The telepathic assumptions of deficient government billing bureaucracies are astounding. Whole departments should be fired!




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    • Anonymous says:

      I get mine in the mail every 6 months. But I guess that’s why I’m not in arrears. And its what makes me suspicious of your excuse.




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      • Anonymous says:

        I have a house but no po box. I guess they could send me a bill in the US like everyone else does, but they don’t. When I built my house there was no fee or it was suspended. Who knows whether that changed, but I have never once been billed. I just looked up the DEH site which says $100 but the website doesn’t appear to have been updated in any way since early 2015. If I get a bill I pay it. If I don’t, I don’t. Cutting off service is obviously not an option for them because it would be impossible for the workers to keep up with which houses to service. Since you don’t have residential mail delivery, you need to set it up for one of the utilities do the billing. No one will pay if you don’t bill them because everyone will rightly conclude that if DEH can’t manage to send out bills there is zero chance they will ever try to collect.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Our Strata Corporation, which has been in existence for >25 years, didn’t get a bill for 4-5 years. It was queried at our AGM every year. The trucks never stopped coming – in fact, if anything, they come too frequently, but nobody tracks that either!




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    • Anonymous says:

      It should all be online billing, save paper, save hassle, bank transfers..you know, the modern world




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  17. Anonymous says:

    The people are not the only irresponsible culprit in this situation. For those that are outstanding over six years; 10 years or 15 years, why did DEH wait so long to disrupt service? What are the chances of DEH collecting the debt that are more than six years old considering there is a limitation law in the Cayman Islands? DEH should take some responsibility in this matter. In trying to collect this money by removing the pickup service or containers, they will create another public health issue?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Garbage fees should be prepaid annually, not billed eight years in arrears. That’s the problem.




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      • Anonymous says:

        If you got an 8 years arrears bill then someone wasn’t paying their annual bills for 8 years. I get a 6 months in advance bill every 6 moths for my (very small) complex.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You’ve hit the crux: by ceasing collection they will create a Public Health issue.

      Best thing Govt. can do is forget about the back-fees (be practical) and set up a ‘coercion’ system for future fees. The current proposals of not renewing other licences, which essentially shut a business down so there’s no garbage to pile up, is a good first step.




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      • Anonymous says:

        11.39..vicious circle, you do that and then any Caymanians working there are out of jobs and will be the first on here bleating about how unfair the system is…




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        • Anonymous says:

          That’s OK, there’s a long list of me and other Caymanians they can bleat to about how unfair it is that their employer has to pay his fees too. Next you’ll worry that we shouldn’t have convicted the real estate scammer a few stories up because he had employees in his business that will be out of work because his business was essentially bankrupt. Everything has a cost and everyone has to pay their part, which starts with businesses, even my Caymanian owned, garbage fee paying, company.




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  18. Anonymous says:

    Make it easy to pay…give out bank account details for bank transfers so people don’t have to clog up the roads and make more pollution and take time off work to pay and make the fine five times the outstanding fee if more than 3 months late. People also have to know how much to pay and when, and system has to be better than CUC where you get the bill 3 weeks after payment due date, but the cut off notice arrives in seconds…




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  19. Anonymous says:

    Can we get the breakdown of amounts owed by Nationality?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously?

      Based on this lengthy article there is clearly an issue with the method of payment, yet somehow you think this boils down to nationality?

      I sincerely hope you were trolling.




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    • Anonymous says:

      8.19, I don’t think you would like the answer




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  20. Anonymous says:

    This is such an unbelievable situation! On the one hand it would be easy to “just stop collecting garbage” from irresponsible business operators, but then entire Island would suffer from smell, rodents etc.

    However, the main problem here is that the CIG refuses to use its teeth to collect funds owed. What is needed is a central revenue agency which is responsible for all the fees charged by CIG so that when you go to pay your vehicle license fee or mailbox rental fee, the Customer Service Rep can see that you also owe for your garbage fee, hospital bill, and trade and business license! So, for example, if your garbage fee is outstanding, you cannot get your vehicle licensed until all that is due is paid,

    We have to teach our citizens and residents to be responsible and to understand that government revenues does not just pay for Civil Servants’ salaries in a vacuum, but they are paid to provide services such as FREE education, grants to elderly and those not able to work and care for themselves, subsidized healthcare, roads, garbage collection for residential households etc. etc. etc.

    This “pirate” mentally has remained because we are not taught civics in school and we continue “cloak” our people to be irresponsible.

    And another thing…. we need to have a progressive revenue system such that people who cannot afford to pay certain fees can be exempted, and we therefore, do not have to remove fees from all residents in the Country just because . It is unbelievable that Lil Ms. Ebanks, Bodden, Mclean, etc. out of their NAU stipend had to pay the same garbage collection fee as the Managing Partner at Maples and Walkers. It is amazing that we don’t differentiate on fees for luxury cars that cost more than $70K etc.

    Enough from my Big Mouth! What say you Sandra Catron, Sandy Hill, Marlroad? it is time for you to take these types of issues to educate and inform your “Followers” that pollute social media with false news.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous at 8:10 I could not agree more with your comments. If I was in charge of this department/ ministry I would take it further. I would require every business person/ company to have a proper recycling, upcycling programme and if they are not in compliance they would be given a year to set it up. Their properties would be inspected yearly and the recycling programme would be part of it and if they fail then they would be fined and the business would be put on a three months notice to get it done, because after three months the doors would be closed until they comply. I cannot understand why in this 2017 year that there are still persons still throwing their thrash all over the main roads and side roads and they always get away with it. I am asking the Minister whose portfolio this falls under to make a call to the environmental minister in Singapore and ask him how they manage to keep their country so clean. For God sake stop kicking the garbage down the road and use the laws already on the books to start cleaning up these Cayman Islands. Stop going around in circles and doing nothing. These Islands are decaying and falling apart and all we can get out of this government is a few buzz words every now and then. Gone are the days when we sit by and swallow all the crap you all spout out.




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      • Anonymous says:

        every hotel, bar and restaurant should be required to recycle their bottles/plastics/cardboard! It’s insane that it’s not mandatory! Companies like JUNK can sell them the bins and generate more income when having to collect… think about all the jobs that would be created to continue these efforts! So easy it’s ridiculous in 2017 that we toss millions of recyclable material in the landfill… sad and disheartening really!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Note that single households do not pay a garbage fee. Therefore Lil Ms. Whomever or the Managing Partner of Big Law Firm are not paying a direct collection fee. However, some of the import duty does go towards this “free” service. Thus it is very likely that the persons with more income are contributing more as they buy more. Get it?

      Now in my opinion, any residential property with over 3 units should be required to use a skip for easy collection. Regardless of when they were built.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Amazing how you guys love counting other peoples money…pay your share, its a $100 a year for heaven’s sake, not exactly earthshattering.




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  21. Anonymous says:

    Just like Hospital fees, pit bulls, pension laws, the lack of enforcement is an intentional ploy not to upset debtors, the majority of whom are voters. Auditor – General. Please demand some answers and force government to enforce its own laws!




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  22. Anon says:

    How about developers, like the Ritz’s Michael Ryan, pay their outstanding balance ($6 million) to the public coffers before being allowed to develop more?

    Garbage fees are essential but so are those related to development!




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    • Rick says:

      Well, Michael Ryan has friends. In both parties. That means he is not likely to pay full price for anything, if he pays at all.

      Our so-called leaders with the rich play, while hundreds of Caymanian children attend school hungry each day.




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  23. Anonymous says:

    More frequent collections are needed when you have 20+ Filipinos renting out a 3 bedroom house. They accumulate a lot of garbage very quickly and it sits on the side of the road for too long so chickens and dogs tear the bags open (if they use garbage bags) before it’s collected. The trash ends up all over the road!
    Also surely the collection fee should be a lot more for a 3 bedroom house occupied by 20+ people than the 3 bedroom house down the road occupied by 3 people.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Home owners don’t pay fees, but they should. All garbage should be in clear bags – one bag twice a week for free, and surplus bags with prepaid DOH tags at a rate that makes sense. Sadly, we don’t have any intelligence running the show that can figure this out. It should all be computerized/automated by block/parcel and billed in advance.




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  24. Anonymous says:

    Garbage fees for residential households were discontinued in favor of a rise in import duties. However, strata complexes were still being charged up to 15k per year to collect their garbage.

    Last time I checked the duty rate was the same for everyone regardless of whether you live in a private home or apartment complex. I am not paying the strata fees because it is discriminatory and ill thought out.

    Oh and for the record, they need to look into their accounting department at DEH, when we did pay years ago, it took them up to 4 months to deposit our checks, they may need to check the accountant’s desk drawer, may find some of the outstanding monies there.




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  25. frangipani says:

    why does everything have to get so far out of hand before any action is taken?. It is ridiculous that the collection of these fees should have been allowed to build up to this extent. Are there no checks and balances in the Government systems to ensure that any and all matters are not overlooked or neglected?




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  26. Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t the matter of garbage fees eliminated for residential customers? It was only apartments and commercial businesses that were to pay annual fees?




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  27. Anonymous says:

    Please could someone in government clarify who is supposed to pay what. I used to receive an invoice and would then pay the tax. But I haven’t received one for years, so I haven’t paid anything. I’m happy to pay something for this service, indeed I think I should, but nobody has billed me!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Lame excuse bobo.. .or you collect garbage in your office for free too??




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      • Anonymous says:

        Its not a lame excuse since you don’t know if they’re in a hose, an apartment, or running a commercial enterprise. Each of those could fall under a different fee structure, depending on the size of the apartment complex.




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