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Covington Residents Get Inaccurate Waste Fee Bills

Some Covington residents received unusually high waste fee bills over the weekend. Some got lower than usual ones.

One resident noted that a bill that is usually $122.50 was now more than $400.

The City of Covington fielded many inquiries into the unexpected increase on Monday. The City did approve an increase in the waste fee in the summer of 2013 when the city commission voted to extend the contract with CSI, now part of Republic Services. That increase was set at 1.75%, The River City News reported at the time.

The error was apparently on the part of the third-party billing company. The City pays Republic with money collected from the citizens who are billed by the third-party company, in this case, Datamark.

"While we are proud of the fact that thus was the smallest increase in several years at 2% and that Covington residents have one of the very lowest waste collection fees in Northern Kentucky, we are not pleased that some received erroneous bills," City Manager Larry Klein said in an email to city commissioners and staff that he offered to The River City News.

"The company that mails these bills for us each year informed us this morning, after (being) contacted by our finance department, that they incorrectly manipulated the data file we sent them, causing the field that represented the number of residential units to miscalculate the total amount of waste fees due," Klein said. "As a result, some bills are smaller and some are larger than they should be."

"We are asking them to correct this."

Datamark is currently reviewing the file it received from the city and the bills that were sent out in order to identify the incorrect ones and to issue corrected bills.

"Once we know the list of erroneous bills, we will continue to track them to make sure no one underpays or overpays in case they go ahead and pay without knowing there was an error," Klein said.

The city has asked Datamark to issue a statement that can be shared with the public.

-Michael Monks, editor