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Annual water/garbage rate discrimination


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Yesterday we went to pay our annual water/garbage bill in Boquete. We were told that the rate was $180-almost triple what we paid last year. My husband is fluent in Spanish and asked them several times why it was so high. She said all the rates went up. Finally after much discussion and after jubilando discount and early payment, we paid $101. Then we spoke with our Panamanian neighbor and he said he paid approximately $64. My husband went back inside to ask them and another Panamanian was paying $64 also. The girl then told him that we had to pay more because I was a "gringa"-the bill was in my name. She suggested we talk to the alcadia-so we did. He said "no" that was a mistake (the high amount). So we went back to the payment office with the alcadia's secretary. They cancelled our previous payment and reprocessed it-for $64 (after the 2 discounts). When we were in the mayor's office, there were 2 women from Santa Lucia (not native Panamanians, one had been here for 40 yrs.)Who were also very upset with the high rates. It seems if you live in a "residetiale/urbanizacion/private community"that they are trying to charge more. And they assume most of these residents are "gringos" and can pay without question. This seems like discrimination to me, and that's illegal here. We don't live in a private community, but they don't ask and there's no indication on your bill where you live. If you live in a private community, do they charge a different rate for the Panamanians and for the foreigners who live there? So watch and question your bill!

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I went to the tesoria to pay my for garbage collection for the year.  I had a hand-written note with me that I got from the clerk there in November.  It said my rate for 2017 would be $24.40.  When I went to pay, the current clerk consulted a chart (as Keith said, it showed different rates depending on where you live).  I couldn't see what rate she was looking at, but the bill ended up being $40.50 (just for trash - I pay for water somewhere else).  I asked her if the rates went up, and she said they did.  That is quite a rise though, from $24 to $40. 

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13 hours ago, JudyS said:

I went to the tesoria to pay my for garbage collection for the year.  I had a hand-written note with me that I got from the clerk there in November.  It said my rate for 2017 would be $24.40.  When I went to pay, the current clerk consulted a chart (as Keith said, it showed different rates depending on where you live).  I couldn't see what rate she was looking at, but the bill ended up being $40.50 (just for trash - I pay for water somewhere else).  I asked her if the rates went up, and she said they did.  That is quite a rise though, from $24 to $40. 

Judy

In Panama City my rates of garbage is higher because of the place I live.  It is high because in some way we are subsidizing or having solidarity with the people living in poor neighborhoods in Panama that have a lower rate.  It has to do with places or neighborhoods not by nationality.

I am not sure but you should investigate why the increase was so high.  

 

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54 minutes ago, Keith Woolford said:

Despite today being an official holiday, the new compactor truck just picked up garbage here in Brisas Boqueteñas. We certainly can't complain about the service.

Yup...we were surprised they were working on a holiday !   We finally caught up with them today. The new truck is so quiet, we've missed the guys Christmas and New Years in order to hand them a few bucks in an envelope as a Holiday thank you.  These guys really do a fine job and we sure do appreciate that.    

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Thanks, Keith. I am delaying the payment of our 2017 municipal garbage bill until after reading what the "official" rates are. Please post here as soon as there is something to report.

Our water bill is not through the city, but rather Acuaducto de Alto Lino, and so I am now curious what will happen there. I'm considering asking for a copy in writing of their billing rate table.

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I paid my water bill today to the Jaramillo Arriba water system today. The bill was the same as it's always been -- $32.80 total for two houses. This represents a discount for paying the entire year in January. I'm happy about this amount having come from a place that the water bill was $60/month for one house in Michigan in 2002.

Last year my garbage rate paid to the Municipio went way up. The reason given was that I was a gringo and put out more garbage. The new rate was $32.40/year for each of my two houses. I paid it without arguing the gringo question because it's still way less than the $6/week I was paying in 2002 in Michigan. And, maybe it's true that I do put out more garbage. However, I know for a fact that many Panamanian pedestrians bring their garbage from farther up the hill and dump it into my container.

Let's just keep it in perspective folks.

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What Keith says may well be true, but I live in a basically Panamanian neighborhood and went with my Panamanian neighbor to pay and she paid half of what I paid and the explanation was that it was expected I would generate more garbage. This was last year. We'll see what this year brings. Still cheap and I'm still happy.

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13 hours ago, Keith Woolford said:

Not surprised you paid twice what your neighbour did.

You have two houses.

I have just one house, and one person, and I paid more than Penny did for water.  Different district though. 

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On 1/13/2017 at 10:58 AM, MarieElaine said:

Are there discrimination laws in Panama?

Yes.  There are.  Never been a problem.  It is getting improved every legislature.  It is clearly stated at the Constitution.  Last project of law will enhance those related to gay and lesbian persons.  

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I find it hard to believe that most Panamanians can afford these increased rates. Whatever the law and the chart says, it appears that different rates are being applied to different people. Someone needs to get to the bottom of this. I have a private garbage service and a different water junta, and I pay still different amounts. My water bill last year was $132 (and I get hit up every now and then for special repairs), but who wants to p.o. the water administrator? I feel confident that my Panamanian neighbors don't pay this much; they couldn't afford to. I pay $1 a week for garbage pickup, left by the trash receptacle on pickup day.

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23 hours ago, Roger B said:

Yes.  There are.  Never been a problem.  It is getting improved every legislature.  It is clearly stated at the Constitution.  Last project of law will enhance those related to gay and lesbian persons.  

I think that we should start citing this law when we are told to pay more because we are expats.

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1 hour ago, MarieElaine said:

I think that we should start citing this law when we are told to pay more because we are expats.

Marie Elaine

 

All of you.  Legal residents of Panama with your Cedula and Visa are protected by our constitution and you have the same rights and benefits of all citizens in this country.  The article of the constitution that talks about it is:

Article 19.  There will not be privileges or preferences neither discrimination by reason of race, place of birth, disability, social class, sex, religion or political ideas.  

 

So laws, taxes, fees, etc must be the same for everybody in the same condition.  So in many cases some fees are based on the place you are living but they shouldnt be based on your nationality.  If you are a legal resident they should give you the same rate.

 

 

 

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