Albuquerque man charged $800 after city fails to send trash bill for 7 years

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s something everyone in Albuquerque has to pay for — the city picking up your trash once a week — but an Albuquerque man said the city dropped the ball and now he’s being billed for their mistake.

Jeff Apodaca said his most recent water bill is almost $800. It’s because he’s being charged for seven years of trash pick up.

Apodaca said he called 311 to get a trashcan repaired. The city responded with a letter.

“It was basically saying that I haven’t paid for trash service for the past seven years,” Apodaca said.

Then they billed him more than $740 for trash service.

“When I first moved into the residence and I set up my utilities — my gas, my electric, my water — and that’s all I thought I needed to do,” Apodaca said.

He said when he moved in July 2010, there were already trashcans at the home. He put them out and they were picked up without an issue.

“I was like, that’s kind of weird. I pay my water bill every month. I thought I had it and you guys always throw my trash when you pick it up on regular trash days,” Apodaca said.

The typical water bill has water fees on the first page and solid waste fees on the second page. For the past seven years, there was nothing on the second page of his bill.

“I was just kind of blown away that they would let this fall between the cracks,” Apodaca said.

The city said no one noticed the solid waste portion was left off his bill until Apodaca called to get his trashcan fixed.

“It’s definitely frustrating. I thought I was paying my bill you know, I never knew I wasn’t,” Apodaca said.

The city said they can only back bill him for four of the seven years he wasn’t billed, bringing his most recent water bill to nearly $800.

Apodaca believes the city should pay for their mistake.

“If it would have been on the bill I would have paid it, but to have to back seven years of having to pay this back. I don’t think it’s right,” Apodaca said.

Apodaca can pay $50 dollars to appeal the bill. If he doesn’t appeal, he will have to set up a payment plan to avoid a disruption to his service.

The city said this type of situation is usually rare, but that it has happened 11 times in the past three years.

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