Changes to water bill collections

By Linda Trest, Staff Writer
Posted 9/22/21

At their September meeting, the Gerald city council changed their collection policy for water bills. 

Water bills are due on the 15th of the month. Users with bills not paid by the due date …

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Changes to water bill collections

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At their September meeting, the Gerald city council changed their collection policy for water bills. 

Water bills are due on the 15th of the month. Users with bills not paid by the due date are notified their bill must be paid by the 26th of the month, or water service will be cut off. If the 26th fell on a holiday or weekend, the service was disconnected on the next business day. 

In the past, a disconnection fee of $25 was added to delinquent bills if the water service was disconnected. This is now called an administrative fee and will be applied to all accounts not paid by the 26th, whether water service was disconnected or not. 

The second change is in making property owners responsible for paying overdue accounts. 

Ward 2 Alderman Ed Adams says this change was necessary in order to recoup the $7,000 to $9,000 the city loses each year to overdue accounts. Often water customers move away owing money on their water bills. “The rest of the rate payers get stuck with it,” Adams notes. 

A $100 deposit is required to open a water account. If the final bill is over that amount, the city often spends considerable resources in the collection process. Once the final bill is paid, the customer is refunded whatever remains of their deposit. 

This is another step in the city’s ongoing effort to ensure the water system is financially self-sustaining. 

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