City to change policy for notification of overdue water bills
The city of Tonganoxie is going to take a tougher stance against residents who habitually are late on their water bills.
During Monday night’s city council meeting Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator, said city staff was wasting too much time reminding people to pay their water bills before service is shut off.
“We spent a whole day calling people from city hall and we don’t want to be doing that,” Bard said. “As we grow this is going to become more and more difficult.”
Of the 1,909 bills sent in February, 417 of then required payment reminder notices, 85 were paid the day before shut off and 160 phone calls were made to residents the day their water was going to be shut off. Thirty-nine people had their water shut off.
Bard said if a resident is having financial difficulty they may be able to be granted an extension if they contact the city. The city granted 56 extensions in February.
Councilmember Tom Putthoff said he had a problem with staff making so many phone calls when they could be using that time doing other duties.
“People that normally pay their bills… if they happen to be on the list I can see making a special call, but if the same folks continue to abuse the system and cause our staff a lot of extra work I think the phone calls have got to quit,” Putthoff said.
Reconnect fee for water is $30 with an additional $30 if the reconnection happens after hours.
Bard said municipalities are not bound by any cold weather rules to shut off water.