Incorrect or incomplete billing for garbage pickup submitted in past months by the city to Decatur Utilities has resulted in 10 customers being “back-billed” this month for garbage services, officials said.

Decatur Utilities acts as the city's billing agent for garbage service. The customers who were back-billed had previously been under-charged, failed to receive a bill or were over-charged for garbage pickup, officials said. At least two customers complained on social media about being surprised by receiving retroactive bills, but they could not be reached for comment.

“It was not a widespread problem,” Decatur Utilities spokesman Joe Holmes said Tuesday.

City spokeswoman Emily Long said DU detected a clerical error on the billing. The city charges $18.70 a month for garbage collection, plus $5 a month for alley pickup. Additional trash bins are $8.47 a month.

“If a customer has been over- or under-charged for garbage pickup, DU will reach out to reimburse or request payment for no more than one year of services,” Long said.

Holmes said the city and DU work together on the billing, and sometimes a new customer will move into a residence but not register for garbage billing. The city usually notices there’s a problem while out picking up garbage, “but occasionally there’s a situation where a customer was never set up to receive a bill," Holmes said.

Holmes and Long said the city and Decatur Utilities continue to work on improving their communications to better serve their customers.

Customers who are unable to pay the entire back-billed amount can call DU’s Customer Service Department at 256-552-1400, option 4, to discuss a payment arrangement over a period of time.

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bayne.hughes@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2432. Twitter @DD_BayneHughes.

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