Greenville neighbors, elected officials, pushing for more transparency from county Sanitation District

They say they have a right to know how their rates are being assessed, and what their tax money is going towards/where it's going to.
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 4:01 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - It’s an issue that has Greenville neighbors fired up: trash pickup.

“I pay about $23.42 a month for their service,” said Greenville County resident David Davis. “I think that’s fair. But other people are paying 18 and 12 dollars for the same service,” he added. “And that’s not fair.”

By law, people and businesses that live and operate within the county’s sanitation district are considered a “captured market,” meaning they pay tax money to the district, regardless of who picks up their trash.

Neighbors and elected officials alike say they have a right to know how rates are assessed, and what the money goes towards.

Davis say he has no complaints about the quality of service. It’s the inconsistency that bothers him.

“All they’d have to say is ‘you guys got this thing all wrong, and you’re misunderstanding,’” he lamented, referring to the Greater Greenville Sanitation District. “Haven’t heard one thing.”

That’s why Davis says he supports a new resolution put forth by Greenville County Council asking the Sanitation District to give officials more details. They want to know how much residents are being charged, including annual reports of fees and breakdowns for neighbors explaining why they’re being charged certain amounts.

“I’m hoping that greater Greenville becomes more responsible to us, the taxpayers,” Davis said, when asked what he wishes the resolution would do.

According to data from Greenville County, a survey of 10 different homes from 10 different parts of the county were all being charged different amounts by the Sanitation District for similar trash pickup services; amounts ranged from $20 to $34 per month.

Multiple County Council members FOX Carolina spoke to say those numbers don’t make a lot of sense. Neighbors agree.


“I don’t understand that and I have yet to hear a valid explanation,” said District 19 community member Ivan Methena. “And I’ve asked.”

County leaders say state law allows the Sanitation District to charge people for services based on millage rates, or the property tax values of homes. So, larger or more expensive properties can legally be charged more.

Some members of County Council say they believe the state law is dated. Neighbors like Methena say they just want everyone to be charged the same amount of money for the same thing.

Neighbors and elected officials also add that some in the community who live within the special sanitation district choose not to use Greater Greenville Sanitation, and instead opt to have their trash picked up by other private companies.

They say those people that do not should not also have to contribute to the tax base of the Sanitation District if they choose not to use the service.

“What we’re dealing with is an issue of transparency and accountability,” Methena said. “The public have to know what’s going on to inform the county council where they stand on an issue.”

FOX Carolina asked Greater Greenville Sanitation if they’d be willing to comment about pricing, or elaborate on where the tax money they collect goes and how they spend it. The District tells us they will not be commenting publicly at this time.

We were also able to obtain a statement from Greenville County Councilman Butch Kirven. In a statement, he told FOX Carolina:

“It’s very clear. The public needs more transparency and County Council has oversight responsibility to make sure of that. The Sanitation district competes with private companies who get no tax subsidy.”

“We want to make sure that Sanitation District customers outside the District who pay no sanitation tax aren’t benefiting by the tax paid by customers inside the District who have no choice in paying the tax,” he added.

This is a developing story. Stick with FOX Carolina for updates.