In June, Allen contacted another plumber who said he couldn’t find the leak and quoted a cost of $6,744. Allen said he didn’t have the funds to contract that work. In November, he said he spent 20 hours working on the issue, discovered and repaired the leak himself and informed the utility.
He then said he received a form letter advising he could receive two months of credit. Allen told the board he felt he paid for services not used and created a spreadsheet with what he considered reasonable fees. He reported he received another letter from the utility saying he could get a credit of $150.10 for November and $142.20 for December. Allen felt he paid an excess of approximately $680 in fees. He also received a shut off notice demanding payment of $359.14 by Dec. 9. He called to see if he could make a partial payment and was told he couldn’t until the issue was resolved by the board of works.
Gerber responded that his department hand delivers red card notices to residents when they notice high water usage informing the resident that there may be a leak. Gerber also pointed out that four of the months (July-October) were on “summer rate” discount and would not be eligible for any adjustment. All residential customers get summer rate wastewater adjustments to account for additional water used for watering lawns, etc. Gerber said it has been the policy of the board of works that the credit request must be for two months back to back (which would be Nov. and Dec.) the bills have to be paid prior to the adjustment, and they need a signed form requesting the adjustment before it can be brought to the board.
Mayor Larry Thompson suggested giving Allen more time to pay the bill because of the holiday season and asked if there was anything that could be done. Clerk-Treasurer Kim Ingle said they have never changed the policy and have never deviated from it so to do so would be setting a precedent. City attorney Brian Hoffer said the board didn’t have much flexibility but could take action subject to receiving request.