ROSWELL, Ga -- A Roswell homeowner is questioning why she's charged sanitation fees on a vacant home where no one is generating any garbage.

"It absolutely makes no sense to me," said Sarah Newton.

Newton moved out of her Roswell home nearly two years ago. She cancelled her sanitation service with the city of Roswell, but continued getting bills. She filed an exemption and the city lowered her fee from $18 a month to $5 a month. By then, Newton had accumulated a $150 sanitation bill.

Newton has refused to pay. She says the city has threatened to place a lien on her home.

"It's not the money, it's the principle," said Newton. "If I was dealing with a business and I wasn't receiving a service, I wouldn't have to pay."

According to Roswell's Director of Public Works, Roswell has charged sanitation fees on vacant home for years. At one time, the owner of a vacant home had to pay the full $18 a month. Several years ago, the city agreed to lower the fee to $5 for those who file for a vacant home exemption.

Public Works Director Stuart Moring says the fees are used to collect garbage at city parks, after major events, and to pay for the city's recycling program.

"Our point of view is there are services the community receives, and by having property in the community, you share in some of that," said Moring.

Moring added that in hardship cases the city will waive the sanitation fee on an empty home. That's done typically in cases where a homeowner is facing a long term illness.

The Public Works Director said he would be willing to speak with Newton and give her situation another look.

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