SAN ANTONIO – You pay your trash bill and – like clockwork – your trash gets picked up.
We don’t give this process a second thought but some people are finding they should have read the fine print.
Some homeowners in Castle Hills received letters saying they owe hundreds of dollars in lost trash fees.
News 4 WOAI followed the money trail and traced it back to the now-defunct water company, BexarMet.
Castle Hills residents rave about the city’s trash service and the helpful collectors.
"Come over, pick it up, empty it, put it down – I never have to mess with it,” longtime resident Anita Reeves said.
That’s why a letter sent to 84 homeowners was so shocking. The city told them while their trash has always been picked up, they were never charged for it – and now it’s payday.
One family showed us their bill. They were shocked to find out they now owe $900.
"There were some people who did fall through the cracks,” City of Castle Hills finance director Suzanne Riley said
She explained that, until recently, homeowners paid for trash service through their water company, BexarMet.
"The check would have been written to BexarMet,” Riley said. “And BexarMet in turn, monthly, would have paid us."
When BexarMet folded, the city went through the accounts and realized some homeowners who recently moved to the area got their regular trash service but BexarMet never charged them for it.
So now, the city is billing those homeowners, going back four years.
Riley says the city expects to recoup a total of $69,000.
"It's going back into the city to provide the services,” she said.
Services like police, fire and yes – trash.
But residents like Reeves, who don’t owe back bills, still wish it hadn’t come to this.
"It's devastating, of course,” Reeves says. “Everyone is already looking at Christmas bills. To get this all in one load has to be pretty hard to take."
The City of Castle Hills will work homeowners on payments plans, if necessary.
A SAWS spokesperson said the company, which integrated BexarMet customers into its system, hasn’t heard of this happening anywhere else that BexarMet used to service.