Eastern Wayne Sanitary District customers to call for balance
By Ty Johnson
Published in News on December 11, 2011 1:50 AM
Wayne Water Districts' enforcement of its failure-to-pay policy has developed a new wrinkle since an unknown number of water bills were lost in the mail last week.
Customers in the Eastern Wayne Sanitary District who have not yet received their bills are being asked to contact the district office to find out what they owe. No second notices will be distributed, District Manager Steve Hamilton said last week, and customers will still be subject to water shut-offs on Dec. 28 if their accounts are not paid off in full by 5 p.m. Dec. 27.
Hamilton said his office is unable to determine how many bills were lost in the mail and therefore can't estimate how many second mailings to send out or who should receive them. Second notices are also against policy.
Hamilton said it appears the bills, which are handled by a Greenville, S.C. firm, passed through the Goldsboro Post Office. He said his office has been in touch with the postmaster there and is trying to find out where the bills have ended up.
"Once we give them to the post office, it's their responsibility," he said, adding that payments from many Eastern Wayne Sanitary District customers are coming in despite the lost bills. "It doesn't appear that there was a huge number."
Hamilton said his office on Center Street had received 50 or 60 calls as of Friday morning.
Enforcement of the district's lock-out policy was stepped up in November when customers lost their months-long grace period for late payments. Hamilton said the enforcement came as a result of increases in rates which led to more write-offs due to delinquent account holders moving away with debts. Those who paid on time, about 85 percent of customers, were left to fund the district's services for the entire district, including for those who routinely failed to pay on time.
The mass shut-off policy began with the Belfast-Patetown Sanitary District where about 700 customers lost water Nov. 29 due to delinquency. Enforcing the new rules all at once was intended to treat all customers fairly, since some customers had previously benefited from being shut off later than others.
About 130 customers in the Southwestern Wayne Water District lost water Dec. 6 and the policy will be strictly enforced at the remaining districts as well.
Southeastern Wayne Sanitary District customers must pay their accounts off in full by Monday or risk losing service Tuesday, while customers in the Eastern Wayne and Northwestern Wayne districts face disconnection on Dec. 28 if they do not pay off their account by Dec. 27 at 5 p.m.