$2,000 water bill is no joke

A man contacted the Ombudsman Office after receiving a $2,000 water bill. He explained that his account had not been charged for sewer service for many years. He had already contacted the agency and had been offered a payment plan. He questioned whether or not the agency could collect this amount after so many years and came to the Ombudsman seeking reassurance that he was being treated fairly by the agency.

The Ombudsman contacted the agency and learned that the man has been a customer since 1997. At that time, the agency had accepted the statement of a plumber that the man had his own sewer service. As a part of an ongoing audit process, the agency used the GIS system to look at sewer lines and compared the line information to their sewer billing. In the process of the audit it was discovered that the agency was providing sewer service to the man’s property.

The Ombudsman researched the rules and regulations of the agency, and contacted a supervisor at the agency for additional clarification. It was learned that the agency could bill the citizen six years back for the services provided, even though the man had received sewer services for a longer period of time.

The man was not pleased that the high bill he received would not be adjusted, but was reassured that the bill he received was correct and fair. He entered into a three-year payment arrangement with the agency.

The Ombudsman column, a production of the Joint Office of Citizens’ Complaints, summarizes selected problems that citizens have had with government and social services, utilities, schools and nursing homes in the Dayton area. Contact the Ombudsman by writing to 11 West Monument Avenue, Suite 606, Dayton 45402, or telephone (937) 223-4613, or by electronic mail at ombudsman@dayton-ombudsman.org or our website at www.dayton-ombudsman.org.

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