Garbage audit error riles Des Allemands resident

Angered by getting a letter that incorrectly called for the return of a waste cart or paying a doubled garbage fee, a Des Allemands resident said he wasn’t paying it and demanded an explanation.

Robert Taylor recently told the St. Charles Parish Council that he had only one cart and wasn’t paying double the $16.69 a month garbage fee.

The parish agreed and apologized for the error.

Chandra Sampey, the parish’s contract monitoring specialist, explained Pelican Waste & Debris, the parish’s garbage collector, incorrectly identified the two carts as belonging to Taylor when they actually belonged to this neighbor.

Pelican exercised its contractual right to audit the parish’s garbage customers yearly, although it had not been done prior by any of the parish’s former garbage service providers, Sampey said. She further cited Taylor for being difficult to deal with despite her efforts to explain he would not see a change in his garbage bill.

The audit, done by Pelican, resulted in 2,500 letters sent to residents who apparently had two waste cans. Sampey said the parish reviewed and approved the letter.

The angry resident replied that he’d only ever had one cart in his entire 14 years of living at 104 Bayou Estates South.

But he further complained, that when he attempted to call Pelican to report the error, that the receptionist told him no audit had been done.

A Pelican representative apologized that the receptionist who spoke with Taylor was new and unaware of the audit. He also clarified that the audit took nearly seven months to complete and had 1 percent errors that they were addressing.

But Taylor argued, what should have taken a single telephone to correct, became a major hassle until he reached out to council members Billy Woodruff, Paul Hogan and Wendy Benedetto to get it resolved.

“If it was just the fee, I would have just gone on with my business,” Taylor said.

But he expressed concern about needing help to get the fee and cans corrected, saying he feared the audit was aimed at overcharging residents for the service. Taylor further maintained all rate increases should be held until the audit could be redone.

Sampey said the contract allows the provide to do the audit. The council agreed the correction would be made, but that Pelican was doing the job.

Larry Cochran, outgoing parish president, also praised Sampey for doing a good job.


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