Sometimes public outreach and self advocacy work to alleviate what seems like an injustice.
It has at least for World War II veteran Fred Meyers, 89, who has been fighting with Public Works and Waste Management (PWWM) and Miami-Dade County over his unpaid and delinquent garbage bills.
The Miami Herald reported last week that Meyers, a longtime Cutler Bay resident, was facing delinquent fees on bills he had not received -- since 2008, when his service started -- and felt, because of the bureaucratic error, he should not be liable for late fees.
Now both PWWM and the county have come to a resolution that drops those delinquent fees.
“As a result of our office’s discussions with the county’s Public Works and Waste Management Department, Mr. Meyers’ current debt of $3,986 has been reduced to $2,634,” according to a statement from Metro Commissioner Lynda Bell.
The statement added that the removal of $1,352 in late fees and penalties leaves Meyers with a bill for only three of the six years of service that he received, as well as the offer of a multiyear payment plan.
“Normally, penalties continue to be assessed when attempts to reach a resolution are not completed in a reasonable period of time,” PWWM said in email. “But, this solution takes all matters into consideration and seems to be a fair resolution.”
Meyers agreed that this does seem to fair deal, but insists that he still feels he does not owe the county anything in garbage bills.
“I just want to pay what I owe from now on,” Meyers said. “I was never told I’d have to pay when I got the bins and was never told until recent, and when I was told, I paid it.”
Meyers is referring to his 2012 bill which he said he had paid and which the county refuted and deemed delinquent, but has recently recognized as paid.
A friend and advocate of Meyers, Stephen Zarzecki, also welcomed the new developments but is not completely satisfied. “I appreciate the attention of our elected officials and PWWM to this concern, but we would like to see them do more.”
Meyers and Zarzecki said they will be speaking to the director of PWWM, Kathleen Woods-Richardson.