Q The County filed a garbage lien on a piece of property, and the owners subsequently defaulted on their mortgage, resulting in the sale of the property at foreclosure. Are garbage bill liens statutorily given any priority status? If not, would the foreclosure wipe out the lien on the real property? Would the home owners still be personally liable for the garbage bill?

A There is no statutory preference given to garbage liens. A foreclosure does not, however, automatically release the garbage debt on the property, rather, Section 19-5-22 creates a lien that is not in all cases superior to other liens. Creating a less than super-priority lien is not the same as releasing a debt. Consequently, the lien on real property would remain on the garbage lien book maintained by the chancery clerk. Additionally, the owner of the foreclosed property may remain personally liable for the delinquent garbage fees, thereby authorizing the county to withhold the individualís car tag until such time as the delinquent garbage fee is paid or discharged as provided in Section 19-5-22. (Attorney Generalís Opinion to Russell, May 2, 2014)