Campbell looking at stricter deadlines to pay water bills
Campbell administrators are considering tougher deadlines for water customers to pay past-due bills.
The city’s water department has nearly $90,000 in delinquent water bills, and council President George Levendis is looking for a solution to the growing problem.
“I think our collection rate is too slow,” Levendis said. “We’re looking at 45 to 60 days before people’s water is getting shut off when they don’t pay. We need to get it down to something reasonable, like two to three weeks.”
Under the city’s current structure, the water department sends delinquency notices between the 12th and the 15th of the month to customers with more than $50 unpaid on their bills. From that point, they have two weeks to pay their bill before the city notifies the customer that their water service will be terminated.
Though the city’s water department legally could terminate a customer’s service the day after the two-week window closes, the city’s current protocol is to carry out most of the service terminations over a day or several consecutive days during the month. This means that a customer may continue to receive water despite being more than two weeks delinquent on payments.
Campbell’s city administrator, Lew Jackson, said the consolidation of shutoffs is a logistical necessity.
“In order to actually carry out shutoffs, we need at least decent weather – it would have been impossible to shut anything off last week, for example – and we need backhoes and at least two backhoe drivers since many of those shutoff valves are buried,” Jackson said. “Some people know their water valves are difficult for us to reach and take advantage of that fact.”
Read more about the situation in Wednesday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.