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Overdue bills for water plague Campbell

Published: Tue, August 3, 2010 @ 12:08 a.m.

By Jeanne Starmack



The city will try to collect about $200,000 in overdue water bills in September, said city administrator Lew Jackson.

City councilwoman Juanita Rich, who heads council’s Public Utilities and Waterworks Committee, said some delinquencies are “$500, $700.”

“There’s no reason for this,” she said Monday. “[The city needs] to start collecting those bills.”

The delinquencies in question are from current, active water accounts, she said.

There are accounts, she said, that are always behind.

“They’d pay a little on past bills, but they’d never catch up,” She said. “You can’t continue to do that forever.”

Jackson said the city sends 30-day shut-off notices to water customers who have at least $50 past due, but some people will pay only part of their bill and avoid the shut-off. The unpaid portions accumulate, he said.

He also said that some of the higher delinquencies Rich noted are because of broken water pipes, and he is working with people on those accounts.

Jackson said the city will run a notice in a local newspaper and on public access TV Channel 19 that people whose water accounts are delinquent must pay them by a certain date, or the city will shut off their water. He believes the date will be sometime in mid- September.

He said the notice will not include delinquent- account-holders’ names and addresses on the advice of the city’s law director.

Jackson said that the last time the city attempted to collect water-bill delinquencies was in April 2009, but he would like to run the notice every six months from now on.

Still, he said, there are people who have legitimate hardships.

“You almost have to go on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

The average water bill increased from $50 to $60 a month to $70 to $80 a month when rates went up in January 2009, he said.

Jackson said people should realize that their water bill also includes garbage pickup, storm-water management and sewer bills, and that’s why it might seem higher than water bills in other communities.


1author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years, 12 months ago

Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink.

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2Silence_Dogood(1677 comments)posted 5 years, 12 months ago

Turn the water OFF , and don't turn it back on untill they pay the bill. What is so hard about that.

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3mrblue(1175 comments)posted 5 years, 12 months ago

Too bad you can't turn off their Direct TV or their cell phone service. That may sound harsh or even stupid, but I'll bet that half of the past due customers have those services. You people at city hall better start doing your jobs. Unpaid bills that total $200,000 is unacceptable. Why not publish their names? The county does if you don't pay your real estate taxes.

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4chiefmac1(6 comments)posted 5 years, 12 months ago

Just like the article reads water bill also includes garbage pickup, storm-water management and sewer bills. So if you just look at the water charge on any customers bill and compare it to surrounding cities(the size of Campbell), it is close or even lower then most surrounding cities. The bigger cities of course can charge lower rates because they have more customers however, Campbell water rates are very competative with those rates. As far as the water being not able to drink, the water treatment plant has come a long way over the past several years. Used to be ran by people who didn't even have EPA licenses or even certified to run tests on water. Now it has certified personel who actually care and try to do the best the can with what they have to work with. For those not living in Campbell, its none of your business how much the water is here or what goes on here, save your comments for your own city. The article is wrong about when the shut off program last took place, it was early this year not 2009. The department did a great job in shutting off water and collecting the majority of the unpaid bills. So 200,000 in delinquencies sounds like it is way off the mark. Starmack needs to quit meeting with certain Campbell employees and get both sides of the story. She needs to quit writing negative about Campbell

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