By ALEXANDER WILLIS
The Thompson’s Station Board of Mayor and Aldermen discussed on Tuesday the idea of introducing stricter penalties on residents who continue to miss payments on wastewater related bills. The discussion revealed the town currently has approximately $56,000 in unpaid wastewater bills, with the board ultimately expressing interest in furthering the discussion at the town’s next board meeting.
“There’s no deposits, there’s no reconnection fees if service is interrupted for nonpayment, landlords are not responsible for their tenants, so tenants leave, and we wind up with the balances that we have on the books right now that we’re trying to collect,” said Assistant Town Administrator Caryn Miller during the meeting. “We have $56,000 on the books right now of unpaid bills, and that’s ridiculous.”
Per the language of the proposed amendment to the town’s ordinance on wastewater bills, payments not received by the due date would see the resident issued a fee in the amount of 10 percent of all unpaid fees. If the fee is then not paid by the provided cut-off date, the resident’s water service may be cut off.
The amendment also stipulates that all future residents tapping into the wastewater system would be charged a deposit of $75, which would go towards their final water bill, with commercial and multi-family properties being charged a $150 deposit. In the event that a resident has their water shut off, an additional $75 deposit would be charged before services would be restored.
The amendment also dictates that property owners would be responsible for their tenants’ wastewater bills.
Miller also said that the town had signed a contract with Fox Collections, a collection agency, to recover some of the current and future unpaid bills.
“I’ve worked with them in the past, other municipalities have worked with them in the past… they’re very aggressive, and hopefully we can get some of that $56,000 back,” Miller said. “It’s a win win. We don’t have to pay for anything other than a percentage of whatever they collect.”
After making some suggestions, such as making more clear the language of the deposits, the board ultimately decided to move forward with the proposal, and will review it again for a second reading on May 14.