Saturday, January 26, 2008

Of Water Bills and Late Fees

You may not have noticed but the city council voted a $5 late fee on water bills that kicked in on January 1st. Here's an email City Manager Jeff Doherty sent out regarding the late fees notices and timing of bills:

Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council:
There have been some recent discussions regarding the City’s water bills and the new late fee. Following is the billing cycle for a City water bill.
It takes an average of 5 working days to read the water meters. It takes 3 working days for the City to take the meter readings and process the bills. It takes 1 working day to print and mail the bills. The bills are delivered to the Post Office by the City on the day they are printed. How they are handled by the Post Office is the business of the Post Office.14 days are provided for payment after the day they are mailed (Due Date = Mailing Date + 14 days). 2 working days after the due date, the 2nd Notice is mailed (this allows payments made at banks to be received by the City) and 5 days are given before the water service is disconnected.
With 21 working days in a month, you can see that the current billing cycle uses every day. It is important that the cycle be completed before the next bills are prepared so that bills accurately reflect an account. There are 6 billing cycles comprised of the various routes in a month. In other words, there are 6 due dates each month.
The 14 day payment period could be lengthened by deleting the 2nd Notice. Most utilities do not send second notices; the City has done this historically as a courtesy and as a reminder that the water service will be disconnected on a certain date unless payment is made. By discontinuing the 2nd Notice, we could add time to the due date, which also becomes the date that we disconnect the service for non payment.
Jeff Doherty, City Manager


Why is the city bothering to read the meters when they bill for residential water by the day, not by the amount used?
Are you dumb, anonymous?? The last time I checked my water bill, it was based on the amount used.
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