By EMMALEE C. TORISK
City officials are cracking down on delinquent water accounts — and on the residents who habitually request payment extensions.
Water service linked to accounts not paid in full by Aug. 25 will be disconnected and will resume only after both the bill and the water turn-on charge are paid.
No further extensions will be granted.
Judith Clement, city administrator, explained that city code dictates the granting of payment extensions. They are limited to two requests per calendar year and are meant to temporarily “help people in dire straits,” such as those facing medical issues, Clement said. Plus, water service that already has been disconnected for nonpayment is not eligible for payment extensions.
But that’s not how the system is working, she added.
“People are taking advantage of it, because they’ve gotten away with it in the past,” Clement said. “We have to run this like a business.”
She noted that about 40 to 50 of these “repeat offenders” ask for extensions each month.
In July, the city billed for $81,000 in water service, and it collected just $68,000. Those numbers aren’t “bad at all,” Clement said, but the city has to once again start enforcing its code.
Even though the return to a more stringent policy was announced only last month, Clement already has noticed improvements. In addition, everyone she’s spoken to about the change has been “very compliant.” They probably saw it coming, she added.
An account clerk in the water department said payments during July seem to have picked up.
She added that she’s hopeful these steps the city is taking will curb the problem of payment delinquency.
Clement said, too, that the city will keep moving forward — and that she doesn’t anticipate going back to the way things used to be.
“We don’t want to fall behind again,” she added.
Payments can be made at Campbell City Hall, 351 Tenney Ave., in cash, or with checks or cashier’s checks.
Credit cards are not accepted. A night drop deposit box is available.