The city of Chicago is charging some residents double or even triple what they’re supposed to pay for garbage pickup.
Alderman Scott Waguespack (32) says a couple dozen people have come by his office with a similar complaint: Their utility bills are incorrect. They’re being charged for garbage pickup at units that they don’t own.
The city now charges a monthly $9.50 cent garbage collection fee per unit, but the error is causing some people to pay more.
“If you look at the underlying problem, it’s that we have at least three different departments that are part of this billing that have three different databases with different numbers for different people,” Waguespack said.
Budget office spokeswoman Molly Poppe said, “Nothing nefarious is going on here,” and added that the city did a significant amount of complex data cleanup before sending out the new bills. But she says the budget office knew there would still be some problems, they created a website for residents to clarify how many units they actually own and get reimbursed for any errors.
But Albany Park Resident Jeff Brown said he wishes the city could have fixed all the problems ahead of time. He lives in a single-family home with his wife and two kids, but he’s being charged the garbage pickup fee for a two-flat home.
“For a lot of people, it’s enough for them to try and pay the bill, let alone having to double check if the city is charging them correctly,” Brown said. “I’m fortunate in that I have the time and access to resources to kind of take care of it, but even then I’m gonna have to keep an eye on my next bill, and make sure that it’s right….the city is putting the onus on the customers”