More Waste Watch
Metro Councilman Claims Water Bills are a Waste - Erika Kurre
Updated: Tuesday, November 5 2013, 11:29 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, TN - Metro Councilmember At-Large Charlie Tygard is calling for a halt to billing practices at Metro Water Services.
He claims your money is going down the drain.
Tygard is proposing legislation to to metro council reduce the number of bills that he says are mailed unnecessarily.
But Metro Water Services says that's not true.
They claim it's part of their customer service and there is value in the mailings.
Tygard says he won't back down from a battle over budgeting that started with just a few bucks on a quarterly stormwater bill.
Rather than write four 9-dollar checks throughout the year, He pays the year in full with one 36-dollar check.
Tygard says, "But guess what: In the second quarter, I'll get a 27-dollar credit balance statement, in the third quarter, I'll get an 18-dollar credit balance statement, fourth quarter, I'll get a 9-dollar. Each one of those will come with a return envelope, it'll be stuffed with advertising and it costs postage and handling to get to me."
According to Metro Water Services, of a total 230-thousand customer accounts during stormwater billing months, about 17-thousand carried a zero balance or a credit in the past year.
The department doesn't track how many of those 17-thousand statements were paperless.
But of the total customer accounts, only about 5-percent use e-billing.
That could mean thousands of paper statements are mailed out each quarter to tell customers they owe nothing.
Sonia Harvat with Water Services says the department has considered making software changes to bypass billing.
But that would cost a minimum of 7-thousand dollars and limit the department's communication with customers which she says is key.
Tygard's legislation will come up for second reading two weeks from today.
That's when council members will get an analysis of these bills and data from the water department before deciding whether to prohibit mailing bills with zero balances or credits.
Meanwhile, click this link if you'd like to sign up for paperless billing on your statements: