New rules for water bills proposed by City Council

From the Herald

Statesboro City Council is considering new rules that set special conditions on city employees, city elected officials and their relatives obtaining adjustments to their water and sewer bills.

“No employee of the City of Statesboro or a member of the employee’s household or immediate family shall be granted an exemption or adjustment … without the written consent of the City Manager,” states the list of billing procedures attached to the proposed ordinance. Different requirements would apply to officials such as the manager or city clerk, and to the mayor and council.

For customers in general, the proposed rules would specifically prohibit the city clerk and city manager from waiving penalties and collection charges in hardship cases.

Subject to specific limits, the city clerk would have authority to adjust water or sewer bills of residential customers who experience “loss of metered water beyond the customer’s normal and reasonable control.”

“It’s for dealing with a leak,” Cheshire said. “Sometimes you’re able to find a leak, sometimes you’re not, and it just gives some very specific details on how that adjustment should be made, should it be factual that there is one.”

For confirmed leaks where the lost water does not go into the sewer system, the clerk would be required to reduce the sewer charge to the customer’s average charge for the three months prior to the excess metered consumption. Otherwise, the clerk would base the water charge on the average of the three months prior to the months of excess billing, but still bill the customer for half of the water loss. For leaks where the lost water enters the sewer system, only one credit adjustment would be allowed in 24 months.

In 2014 the GSU tower leaked.
In 2014 the GSU tower leaked.

Adjustments would be prohibited for water used in swimming pools or billed through an irrigation meter.

However, other types of adjustments would be possible on a recommendation by the clerk, investigated and approved by the city manager.

In hardship cases, the clerk could set up a payment plan to bring the account current within three monthly billing cycles, or the city manager could authorize a six-month payment plan, but only one in any two-year period.

The proposed ordinance and its attached regulations were part of City Council’s packet for Tuesday’s meeting, available through the “Mayor and Council” tab on the city’s website, www.statesboroga.gov

The council did not vote on the ordinance Tuesday, but only received it as a first reading. Council could now approve the ordinance by a motion and vote at the next regular meeting.

Read more at the Herald.

Stacy George

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