Tryon looks to collect $50k in delinquent water bills

Published 4:40pm Monday, March 25, 2013

Commissioner Doug Arbogast said he’s in favor of cutting off water if the town gets its issues fixed. He said the town needs to make sure the water bills are correct before cutting someone off.
Commissioner Roy Miller said the town has an accountant in house and that’s where the town needs to start.
“I can’t believe in my heart of hearts that all of them can be wrong,” Baker said.
Arbogast said there have been problems with tax bills and questioned if a resident doesn’t know they have a bill how is it his or her fault. He said there have been problems with the bank not receiving a tax bill and there’s no way to know that the bank did not receive the bill. Similar issues could be happening with
people who have second homes here, he said.
“The point is somebody needs to go in and audit,” Arbogast said. “When we cut somebody’s water off and they’ve been paying their bill, we’ve got a problem.”
Baker said he’s not trying to cut people’s water off.
“The point is, we have $50,000 worth of unpaid water bills and we complain about the water rates,” Baker said.
Arbogast said the town has an obligation to ensure the bill is correct and as long as the town can get an audit of bills he’s in favor of enforcement.
Another issue that surfaced is the town’s $1.60 surcharge for radio read meters.
Miller said there are citizens in town that don’t have those meters and the town is charging them for something they don’t have.
Baker said that surcharge occurred during former town manager Jim Fatland’s employment.
Baker said he didn’t agree with it then.
Miller said that was in 2005 and the town was told the meters would be installed within 24 months.
Public works director Joel Burrell said there are currently more than 40 meters that aren’t radio read because meter boxes needed to be relocated in those areas. He said the town was going to have to relocate meters and at the time didn’t have approximately $80,000 worth of needed supplies.

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