Thursday, June 07, 2007

Water Woes

Daniel Ruth recounts the tale of the owner of the Swann Avenue Market and Cafe in Hyde Park who got hit with a recent water and solid waste bill with $1,776.12 in "past due" charges.

The reason? Because the City forgot to charge him for recycling disposal or container fees.

Some may argue whether or not he should have been charged at all for the past payments. That's debatable. David McCary's stance was:

"We're not trying to pick on him," a sympathetic McCary commiserated. "But our policy is we don't eat the cost."

Ah, the dreaded policy.

"A mistake was made," McCary conceded. "Nothing was covered up. But we can't ignore [the $1,776.12], and that's the problem."

My issues is in the way it was handled. Instead of just sticking it on the bill with no explantion, the City should have sent a letter explaining the error and indicating it would be willing to work on how it would be paid.

On a related note, a friend from the neighborhood also got a past due notice. However she always paid her bill on time. The city said they did not get the payment. Finally it came in. This happened again the second month even though she sent the check in plenty of time. The problem apparently has something to due with the fact the City sends its bills to a company in Atlanta to handle, thus causing a delay.


If water was not a city monopoly, would free market forces cause better customer service?

crossposted on My Seminole Heights

1 comment:

C said...

Market forces in water? what a dreadful idea. If water wasn't a monopoly of some sort, you'd have small wildcat outfits pumping the aquifer dry. If an agency like SWFWMD turned off the tap, you'd have the water companies and their dancing monkeys on the County Commission screaming about how government interfering with Private Enterprise and we'd wind up with saltwater wells on the coast and more sinkholes inland.