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February 25, 2021

Council passes request to put liens on homeowners who haven’t paid their trash bill

During Monday’s meeting, City Council reluctantly passed a motion to place liens on 127 Gilroy properties with tenants who haven’t paid their trash bills, conceding to the fact that they are legally bound to approving it because of city health codes. 

Recology South Valley, the company that holds an exclusive trash collecting contract with the city, claims the total amount of outstanding bills from Gilroy homes is $35,131. 

“There’s got to be a better way,” Mayor Al Pinheiro said.  “It doesn’t make any sense at all.”

Pinheiro, a landlord himself, doesn’t understand why a homeowner is punished for a bill the tenant does not pay, questioning why Recology can’t just stop service to the tenants who don’t pay – or take some other credit action against the tenants themselves, not the homeowner. 

Council passed the liens proposal under the condition that a 30-day extended grace period is granted to residents who ask for it, an idea suggested by Councilman Bob Dillon. 

“Someone who takes the time to respond will probably pay,” Dillon said. 

The permission to put liens on homeowners with outstanding accounts comes on the heels of Council’s passing of 5.4 percent increase for Recology services in May. 

Councilman Perry Woodward, who was absent for Monday’s meeting, spoke out against the service increase during Council’s May 7 meeting, but acknowledged that the city is locked into a 20-year contract that began in 1997, and as long as Recology raises rates within the bounds of that contract, the city can’t do anything to stop them. 

Also during Monday’s meeting:

Council approved a grant for the Gilroy Police Department on a 6-0 vote to purchase 19 cameras that can attach to officer uniforms. The money for the cameras comes from a $15,827 federal justice assistance grant.

During Council member reports, Councilman Dion Bracco expressed concern over the recent reports of teens defiling the new library facility, and assured Council and staff that measures are being taken to mediate the problem. Bracco sits on the Library Joint Powers Authority Board. 

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