The Village of South Jacksonville will be holding a Public Hearing at the Village Hall next week in an effort to explain to residents changes that are coming to their water bills.
Village Public Works Superintendent John Green says that the new billing system being implemented in the village will allow the water department to fix an issue that has dogged village hall for decades.
“It’s not a water rate increase, what we are trying to do is educate people on our billing cycle which runs a month behind, which causes the actual bills to be two months behind.
The auditors have wanted us to make this adjustment for years, but we did not have the man power to read meters, bet them billed and sent out by the 1st of the month within just a few days. Now with our new system, we will be able to do that within just the few days, but that still leaves everyone’s bills virtually two months behind- not because they were not paying their bills, but because of the nutrition of how the ol;d system worked.”
The hearing scheduled for 6:30 pm next Thursday December 12th will be a town hall type of event inviting village residents to see how the billing adjustment plan will work when it is implemented.
Green says that the overall plan is pretty straight-forward on paper, however it still will be an adjustment for everyone as the village works to make up one whole month in a continuous billing process.
“The increase that the Village Board was talking about was that, what we are going to do, to make the correction is, every month, for a period of four months, residents will have five weeks of water service on their bill instead of the normal four weeks. We are going to catch up one week each of those months until that four weeks residents are behind, because of our billing cycle, is caught up.
It’s not a rate increase, it is an increase on the bill until it’s caught up, then it will go back to the regular four week billing period.”
Green says that the current billing system and cycles have lead to a lot of confusion for residents over the years, which is especially felt when moving into or out of the village.
““As of right now, when someone moves into the village, they do not have a bill for two months, because of the process being two months behind. Then when they move out, their deposit goes toward that two month balance and then whatever the difference is, they are billed for it. Some people forget “ oh I didn’t have a water bill for two months when I moved in”, then they think we are cheating them, but it is just getting the bill caught up. This new system will get that extra month caught up and then going forward, you will only be billed for the water you just used.””
Village Treasurer Tiffanee Peters says that informational materials as well as an estimated month by month break down of the program to catch up the billing will be presented and available to the public at next week’s hearing.
Peters said that because the village board has not set a date for the program to begin, the months will not be specific in the material and amounts will be an average estimate as each customer’s usage is a little different each month.
Customers should bring questions and concerns to the meeting for village officials next Thursday.