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Bulgarian Ombudsman Calls for Fair Administration of Garbage Fee.

Bulgarian Ombudsman Konstantin Penchev has vowed to seek a suspension of the current garbage fee calculation method involving the property's taxable value.

"It mist be fairly distributed and any allegations that this would cost citizens more are incorrect. I agree to pay a bigger garbage fee as long as I know that it has been administered in a fair and equitable manner", Penchev said Thursday in an interview for state-owned TV channel BNT.

"I find this inexplicable. Everybody knows that garbage fee is not a tax, which is exactly why it has to be be apportioned in a fair manner. I will not back down", Penchev stated.

Garbage fee in Bulgaria's capital is currently determined on the basis of the taxable value of a piece of property.

However, Bulgaria's Local Taxes and Fees Act (LTFA) provides that garbage fee should be determined on the basis of quantities of garbage disposed by the owner, and when they can not established, the municipalities can use the taxable value of the property.

Last week Administrative Court Sofia City (ACSC) declared Sofia Municipality's method of calculating residential garbage fee illegal.

The lawsuit at the Sofia-based administrative court was started by Civil Initiative "Justice" which said in a statement that "Garbage is generated by people, not properties, which makes it totally unjust to determine garbage fee on the basis of the taxable value of the property in question, not the garbage disposed".

Sofia Municipality has vowed to appeal the decision of ACSC and to submit all necessary documents justifying the current method of garbage fee formation by August 11, the deadline for filing an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS).

Sofia Mayor Fandakova cautioned on August 08 that amendments to the existing methods of calculation would result in a significant hike in garbage fee rates for Sofia citizens.

In an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR) earlier the same day, Ivan Gruikin, Chairman of the Civil Initiative "Justice" urged Sofia citizens who had not paid garbage fee to wait until the final decision on the legality of the Sofia Municipality's practice.

According to the lawyer, if the existing fee formation principles are revoked by VAS, Sofianites should either get their money back or have the sums deducted from future payments.

On July 04, the Bulgarian Commission for Protection against Discrimination issued a statement confirming that the existing garbage fee collection principles in Sofia constituted a discriminatory practice due to the different criteria used for natural and legal persons.
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Publication:Sofia News Agency
Date:Aug 11, 2011
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