Past due balances not on water bills
GIBBON – Past due water bill amounts were not reflected on monthly statements sent to residents over the past few years, according to Gibbon City Attorney Raphael J. Miller of Gaylord.
The situation led to more than $100,000 in delinquent water bills going as far back as 2007, Miller told The Journal Friday.
“For the past few years, monthly water bills did not reflect the (past due) unpaid balance, just current charges, which led to this problem,” Miller said. “The problem seems to be 95 percent reconciled, after talking with city officials. I believe most people (with delinquent bills) have paid them or got on an interest-free payment plan with the City.”
The City of Gibbon sent letters dated April 15, 2013 to residents with past due water bills, seeking full payment or contacting the city office to set up a payment plan to avoid water from being shut off and a $70 reconnection fee,
Gibbon resident Karen Farrell said her husband Richard Gurska got a letter dated April 15, 2013, from the City of Gibbon for a past due (water bill) balance of $3,365.96.
“We never got a past due (water) bill or cut-off notice until last month, so I decided to wait (since 2007) and see how it goes,” Farrell said. “(After receiving the bill (dated April 15, 2013), I came to an agreement with the City, so the water wouldn’t be shut off.”
Another issue Farrell had with the City of Gibbon was that city water meters were not read monthly and that bills were sent to residents quarterly instead of monthly occasionally in the past.
Miller said Friday that water meters were read about twice a year by a city representative, and residents were asked to record meter readings themselves in other months and provide the figures to the City.
Farrell said she learned Thursday night that a dozen residents got their water cut off on April 26, 2013.
“A number of people are upset about how water bills and meter readings were handled. I believe some of them will attend the next city council meeting that begins at 7 p.m., Monday, May 6,” Farrell said. “I think the City hoped to get the issue resolved before the next city council meeting, so this could be swept under the rug.”
Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.