WESTLAKE — Mayor Bob Hardey has some messages for Westlake residents regarding trash pickup and utility bills.

At a Westlake Council meeting Monday, held in the parking lot of City Hall to allow for social distancing, Hardey reported there are 60 households with past due utility bills. Some are as much as four months past due.

"That's a total of $21,000," he said. "Somewhere down the line, we're going to turn you off. Anyone who has a bill that hasn't been paid in several months needs to call here (City Hall at 433-0691) and we'll work out a payment plan."

Hardey said the city is still obligated to pay for pumps and chlorine, the city of Sulphur for wastewater treatment, and Waste Management for the trash.

"We don't get every bit of that money," he said. "It goes out. And we still have those bills."

The mayor said he understands people are suffering right now, but, he said he can't just let the bills remain unpaid.

"It's illegal to give away public utilities," he said.

Hardey said when he first took office in 2015, his administration had to write off $275,000 in unpaid utility bills.

"We're not going to let it get back to that," he said.

Hardey said residents' payments to Waste Management only cover the pickup of their trash bin. He said it's obvious people have been using their stay-at-home time to clean out garages and their homes.

He said as a result, Waste Management collected an extra 193 tons of trash from the road last month. But that has to stop, Hardey said.

"The Waste Management contract does not cover beds, ice boxes and other stuff that's just standing by the road," he said.

Hardey received a complaint from a resident that the trash collection company didn't pick up the more than a dozen bags she had at the road, outside the bin. He said he told the resident those bags can be divided and placed in their bin over the next several weeks of trash pickup or, they can be brought to the free parish trash collection centers. There is one in Lake Charles at the East Maintenance Facility, 5500 B Swift Plant Road and one in Sulphur, located at the West Maintenance Facility, 2915 Post Oak Road. Regular hours are 7 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday through Monday. They are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

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