With the first north Nichols sewer assessments coming due in July, Trumbull Tax Collector Mary Moran is bracing for an additional burden on her office.
To that end, Moran has been granted more help by the Board of Finance. The Town Council must also give its approval.
Moran asked for $2,200 to "cover the payroll increase to Cathy Rauso' s salary for a 6 month period of time to allow her to assist our office in collecting the mounting sewer-use and sewer assessment delinquencies which have now reached an alarmingly high total, as sewer charges get more difficult to collect."
Getting more help is "a win-win situation," Moran said. In less than 90 days they were able to collect in excess of $400,000 in delinquent user usage fees, she told a committee of the Town Council.
According to the committee, there are 896 Sewer Assessment accounts, with $900,000 in delinquencies. The sewer usage fees accounts in the $3,000-$5,000 range are approaching $400,000 in delinquent accounts.
She blamed the economy in part. Many fail to pay their sewer bills first because it will not lead to loss of service. But a lien is put on the property which must be paid upon sale of the home.
A big change came last year when the Water Pollution Control Authority changed its billing system, which will lead to higher bills for irrigation system users. The old system was based on averages and other ratepayers paid part of the bills for high-usage residents.
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It has been noted there are about 9,800 ratepayers in Trumbull and the town must pay an annual bill to Bridgeport.
Moran did release how many accounts the town has:
- REAL ESTATE ACCOUNTS: 12,136
- MOTOR VEHICLE ACCOUNTS: 31,472
- SEWER-USE ACCOUNTS: 9,738
- SUP PLEMENTAL MOTOR VEHICLE ACCOUNTS: 4,693
- PERSONAL PROPERTY ACCOUNTS: 542
She added that closing Town Hall for five days during Hurricane Sandy also hurt collection efforts.
"We needed overtime hours to complete our required tax issues and to catch-up on collecting late and Governor- approved taxes and interest payments, in addition to all of us helping to fold and mail hundreds of Delinquent real estate notices to cover October's delinquencies," she said.
Moran has said her office is willing to work with people who have difficulty paying their taxes.