News-Leader columnist Steve Nicklas, who repeatedly criticizes city spending as wasteful, has been receiving unauthorized city garbage collection services for free for the past five years, according to city officials.
Nicklas lives in the county, pays no city taxes, and is not eligible to get city trash collection.
The estimated value of the city trash service, for which Nicklas was never billed, is about $1,500. If Nicklas had used Meridian Waste, which services Nassau County, he would have paid about $2,800 for trash/recycling collection during that time period.
“We’re fixing that problem right now,” said Jeremiah Glisson, public works operations director. “The properties on that street that are in the county will have to obtain outside garbage contracts. They cannot get city trash services.”
Nicklas resides at 4075 Dunewood Place near the city golf course. His property is in the county and thus not qualified to receive city trash collection services. There was a city recycling trash bin on Nicklas’ property this morning.
“Waste Management (the city trash company) made a mistake in distributing the trash bins to the county properties on Dunewood,” Glisson said. “Dunewood is a very narrow street with city properties on one side and county properties across the street. They’ve been getting free trash pickups for about five or four years now. That service is now over.”
Glisson said he became aware of the situation about two weeks ago. There are a total of three other Dunewood Place homes in the county that may have been getting the city trash service.
An employee of the City Utilities Department, which handles the billing for city trash collection, confirmed there were no charges listed for garbage collection at Nicklas’ address. According to public documents, there are also no trash collection charges at Nicklas’ home dating back to November 2018.
“As soon as we confirmed the situation with Waste Management we stopped trash service,” Glisson said. “We’ve notified the homeowners.”
As recently as last Friday, Nicklas’ News-Leader column, called “Steve’s Market Place,” lambasted the city, saying, “City officials are irresponsibly talking about frivolous spending on wish-list projects, along with raising exorbitant impact fees even more.”
The Observer sent Nicklas several emails asking for comment and finally this was his response: “You are not a legitimate journalist and you write for a joke of a publication!”
The City Utility Department did not respond to calls asking if the Dunewood homeowners would be billed for the past trash collection services they received.