Republic Services has reached out to Town of Fountain Hills officials with an apology for mishandling a customer audit that has subsequently caused confusion and consternation among residents.

Stephen Herring, municipal relationship manager for Republic in Phoenix, wrote an email to Town Manager Grady Miller saying, “I am reaching out to you personally [with] apologies for the execution and lack of communication around the Desktop Audit. A plan was in place for a smooth roll out but that did not happen and I will accept the full blame for that.”

Herring said the audit discovered approximately 500 addresses within Fountain Hills that did not have trash services with Republic, were being serviced without being billed or were using a different hauler.

“The plan was to get with Raymond [Rees, town environmental and facilities supervisor] and [Miller] upon completion of the audit and discuss the best path forward,” Herring wrote in the email. “Typically this would consist of a letter to the residents and talking points. This part did not happen and that is completely my fault. Upon completion of the audit, actual accounts are created in our system which will automatically generate billing. So while I thought we had time to go through this, billing has already gone out.”

Miller has issued a statement outlining the town’s position on the issue.

“[Republic] sent out bills for the purposes of contacting those who had somehow been receiving free service, using a different company, accessing public dumpsters or other residents’ bins without their consent. Republic did not consult the town about this audit or billing process before it occurred,” Miller said.

“Republic has requested that residents call Republic’s customer service division directly with inquiries or questions at 602-237-2078. In the event services were billed in error, the town has been assured that Republic will correct the error.”

Additional information on this story will appear in the July 10 edition of The Times.