GALLIPOLIS — If you have not been paying your water bill lately, beware. You just might be without.
Gallipolis City officials announced recently that more stringent measures would be taken against individuals dodging their water bill payment obligations to the city water department. According to City Manager Gene Greene, after 45 days of nonpayment, service will be shut off.
“What’s happening is you got people that are behind on their water bill and we don’t get them shut off in time and the bill continues to grow,” Greene said. “It’s partly our fault and it’s partly their fault. So, we’re going to get a list and we’re shooting for (people 45 days late on payment), and if you’re on that list, we’re going to shut your water off.”
Greene said town officials were also investigating another problem where homes rack up a bill and then switch the billing account over to another individual’s name, be that a spouse, significant other or roommate. This way a household may have further dodged financial obligations while making use of municipal utilities. In attempts to cut costs and crack down on utility misuse, officials will be taking closer looks at water use at specific addresses.
“We’re going to be a bit stricter on the shut-off lists from here on out,” said Greene.
Individuals who are behind on water payments can set up a payment plan with the water department in the Gallipolis Municipal Building. Plans will be geared to have a bill paid off within six months. If arrangements are not met, water will be shut off.
If tenants have moved out of a home and officials cannot find the previous tenants, they will contact the property owner. If the property owner does not pay the subsequent water bill, the payment can be put on that individual’s taxes, according to Greene.
“We’re going to come up with a plan and stick to it,” Green said. “We’re probably the only utility company that lets you be 45 days over on your bill before cutting you off.”
Greene said a consulting computer company is drafting a program to allow for the late payment list to be generated and printed with lists. Individuals with late payments will likely be informed. If the tenant is not reached, officials will reach out to the property owner.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.