Tryon preying on citizens to raise funds

Published 5:59 pm Wednesday, August 28, 2013

To the editor:

On May 21, 2013, as the budget was being pulled together, the town council of Tryon, voted unanimously to shut off water of residents who were only 10 days past due in paying their bill.

The general public was notified once in the Tryon Daily Bulletin regarding this decision and on May 22 a sign was placed at the water department counter specifying the changes, useless to those who mail in payments. No notices were mailed to residents who receive water, sewer and garbage collection through the town.

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Payments are due on the 15th of every month. On the 16th of the month, a $5 late penalty is applied and 10 days after the due date water is shut off without notice. A $35 reconnect fee is charged and the bill for previous month’s usage must be paid in order to reconnect once service is lost. So, those who do not pay by 10 days after the due date are subject to $40 in fines. The fine could be the equivalent of half the cost of the bill itself, more or less.

The new town policy went into effect beginning July 2013… Even though the town has a new policy stating when this disconnection is to occur, they do not disclose the date of disconnection with the notice.

Residents have previously been given longer leeway to make payments and mailed notices. Unless, you would happen to read the one notice posted in the Tryon Daily Bulletin or if you hang out at the water department, you would not be made aware of such changes in policy.

Why is this failure to properly notify the case? Why would the Town of Tryon state on your bill that disconnection is scheduled but fail to tell you when? Nobody ever gets disconnected from any other utility for being only 10 days late.

Good news for the Town of Tryon and their new budget, right? If people are not given proper notice, then there will be more folks who fail to pay within the new 10 day due date (that they knew nothing about) and that will equal more money for the town. Obviously, while most are not aware of the changes, the revenue the Town of Tryon brings in from disconnections will be great.

How admirable of you to basically not inform your citizens and do the very least so that you can tout how notice has been provided. Deception at its finest from those we elect to represent us.

When asked how the town could impose such hardships on the most disadvantaged financially, a clerk stated Columbus operated under the same policy.

I am asking the citizens of Tryon to seek better for their residents.

Let the Tryon Council fill their budget gaps elsewhere. Citizens, please refuse your council the right to depend on bullying those facing financial crisis to raise revenue.

For those who face hardships on the 15th and need to wait until the 1st of the following month (15 to 16 days from due date) to catch up on the water bill, your service will be disconnected before you have a chance to do so and a $40 fee will be applied.

I realize from the vantage point of the Tryon Town Council, mayor and town manager that disconnection is the goal in order to fuel their greed, but please remember there is always the other side.

While you may not be directly affected, the person beside you in church may be or the children who go to school with your kids.

I know reports of animals suffering without water would be met by enraged citizens here. I am asking that you share the same passion for your citizens who lose water without proper notice.

– Christy Traylor, Tryon