Rossville will soon begin penalizing those who don’t pay their sewer bills on time. Beginning Aug. 15 late fees will added.
Since January city officials have been working through several billing issues with Enco, a California-based billing provider.
“We’re now about to the process where we can start the procedure of letting people know you have to pay this or we are going to shut your water off,” Rossville mayor Teddy Harris said.
Harris hopes the penalties will “start jarring people” into paying the overdue fees.
Officials have dealt with quite a bit of confusion because the water and sewer bills were separated due to Tennessee American Water Company’s discontinuation of billing for municipalities, ending in 2012.
Officials delayed starting the late fees, for the first seven months, as a transition period to notify citizens and work out any glitches. The past-due amounts range from approximately $20 to a few hundred dollars, according to officials.
Upon checking the delinquent accounts, officials noticed one street with eight residents who had not paid. Harris declined to identify the road, which has a substantial amount of past-due services.
Harris estimates that 13 percent of customers are not current on their Rossville sewer service bill, with more than half of those completely ignoring the bill since January.
Typically other local cities average 3-5 percent, Harris said.
“They either think they don’t have to pay it or they don’t understand it, but it does actually cost money to process your sewage (bill),” he said.
As it began in January, numerous citizens dropped by city hall for an explanation of the changes. Those visits have dwindled to a few per week recently.
The monthly fee varies. It is calculated based on the water usage at the residence.
The penalty will add 10 percent per month to any past-due amounts.
Beginning on Oct. 15, after 60 days of non-payment, the residence’s water service will be halted, adding a $30 disconnection fee and subsequently a $30 reconnect fee to re-establish the service once the debt has been rectified.
Those bills have also incurred Rossville’s $6.50 sanitary service charge, which also has a $1.50 processing charge by Enco.
Some of Rossville residents with septic systems have yet to pay the fee, which also face the same penalties, including water service disruption for non-payment.