Girard's mayor demands water bills be checked

Published: Wed, July 17, 2013 @ 12:06 a.m.


Staff report


After a spate of miscalculated bills that were issued to several Girard residents, businesses, and churches last week, Mayor James Melfi has demanded the supplier of the new meters that provided erroneous statements check all of Girard’s bills before sending them out.

“Confusion and embarrassment has been brought to our community,” Melfi said in a letter to the Cincinnati-based Neptune Equipment Co. “I demand that your company review each and every bill before the next billing is mailed to our customers.”

Last week, several water customers complained of incorrect bills that demanded tens of thousands of dollars.

St. Rose Catholic Church, for example, was billed $98,000 for two months’ use. Errors were corrected by the water department. City officials said the mistakes were due to a software issue.

Melfi said he sent the letter because the city had invested so much money into the project and did not expect the “growing pains” to include massive bills.

“With $1.5 million being spent [on replacing the water meters], I expect perfection,” he said.

Bob Becker, owner of Neptune Equipment, would not comment on whether the company would check each bill, but he added the company has a contract with the city that it is working to meet.

Melfi opposed the water- meter project from the beginning because he did not want the city to commit so much money so soon after Girard came out of fiscal emergency.

“I didn’t think the city was in a position to spend that money,” Melfi said.

The mayor’s veto of the project was overridden by city council in December 2012.

“I opposed council vigorously, but my veto was overridden, and I have to follow the law whether it’s good or bad,” he added.

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