Water woes flood Tryon government

Published 5:29 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2013

If you were left sputtering from the confusion that is Tryon’s disconnection policy for water service, don’t fret; we were left scratching our heads as well.

In this tough economic climate many people might be in the position of having to push this month’s bill a few days so they can buy groceries this week. It’s a reality we understand many face.

No one suggests the town become water tyrants – running to meters and shutting them down the day after someone misses a bill – but certainly Tryon officials must do something to straighten out the town’s water woes. The situation goes far beyond changing a mere grace period though.

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We’re talking about $50,000 in water debt for a town of just 1,600 and some change; this amounts to some pretty hefty late bills. Consider too that part of what Tryon is swimming in includes $29,000 from inactive accounts that might not ever be rectified.

Councilman Wim Woody is right that the problem of people not paying their bills only gets worse if nothing is done. It potentially even causes additional water log for current customers.

If the town is constantly owed money to its water system the deficit left in revenue must be covered somehow. What does this mean? In this fiscal budget year, Tryon raised water rates by one percent. That increase equated to 15 cents more per year for customers inside town limits and as much as 32 cents for those outside town limits. This was expected to bring in an additional $15,000 and that was to cover the budget already, not to make up for debt owed.

We haven’t even broached the subjects of work that still must be completed on the town’s water plant, customer complaints over rates being too high, the customer who paid for years of service she never received or responsibility for Lake Lanier.

Tryon is starting to feel a bit soggy.

Let’s hope the individual chosen to take on the town manager position permanently is prepared to tackle this flood.

– Editorial staff, Tryon Daily Bulletin