Owners of vacant Sharon houses get charged for trash that isn’t there

SHARON, Pa. (WYTV) – A city policy is charging some property owners in Sharon with garbage bills for houses that are sitting empty.

Derrick Yohn left his Sharon house six years ago.

“Because of the economic decline and the real estate values, I knew I was never going to get the amount of money out of it that I’d invested,” he said.

He made the choice to abandon his house, keeping on the electric to maintain the security system.

This month, he got a garbage bill.

“The house is currently vacant. There is nobody living there,” Yohn said.

City Manager Robert Fiscus said there’s nothing new about the city policy causing Yohn to get the bill.

“That is the same law that goes all the way back to 1990 that requires every residential property have garbage service.”

In the past, the law wasn’t enforced but under a new agreement with Tri-County Industries for garbage collection, every property owner will get a trash bill.

New to the law is a provision that says the property owner, not the tenant, is responsible for garbage service.

Fiscus said too many rental accounts are past due which is driving up costs for everyone.

“All the citizens of Sharon likely pay more for garbage services because there’s been a delinquency in the past.”

Yohn has started a petition drive, asking for the policy to be changed.

“They have a challenge in front of them to get some of the blight out of the area but I don’t think going after the homeowners is the proper procedure,” he said.

Yohn hopes city management will find a better way to deal with vacant properties.

Other residents might be able to lower their garbage costs, however, by increasing their recycling.

Fiscus said he wants to see Sharon get back into the recycling groove.

“At one time, Sharon was the leader in the state and we recycled more than anyone else, and now we’ve got to the point where we are the lowest rate of recycling.”

Sharon’s new contract with Tri-County Industries provides a free recycling tote to any garbage customer. It’s the same size tote for people who pay by the bag or a large garbage can.