After $20K Loss, Powder Springs Grabs New Water Bill Rules
City customers will go from getting bill credits for "virtually anything" to only if they climb to 400 percent of their normal price.
The city of Powder Springs lost $20,000 last fiscal year by absorbing customers’ water bills when they had a leak or other water issue.
There is a backlog of hundreds more of these credits that haven’t been calculated, leaving customers frustrated that they haven't yet been handed out, and officials don’t know how much they will cost the city. The cost comes from Powder Springs having to purchase its water from the Cobb-Marietta Water Authority, which doesn’t accept the credits.
The credits paid out last year, plus the backlogged ones, total 11 million gallons of water.
The credits are given for “virtually anything,” Finance Director Amy Davis told the City Council at Monday’s meeting.
“If your bill is over because you left your toilet running, we give you a credit,” she said. “If your bill is over because you forgot to turn the water hose off in the front yard, we give a credit.”
At the meeting, the council voted 4-1 to adopt Cobb County’s water policy, which only gives credit for those whose water bills meet or exceed 400 percent of their normal usage. The full policy is attached.
“It seemed to be very fair,” Mayor Pat Vaughn said of the policy.
Dissenting was Councilman Al Thurman, who showed concerns about just taking Cobb’s policy and applying it to the city, as well as shooting the credit requirement straight up to 400 percent.
Thurman questioned why the city started giving the credits originally.
They were instituted without a written policy, and “basically what we’re doing (by adopting Cobb’s rules) is trying to have some semblance of a policy,” interim City Manager Brad Hulsey said.
Along with saving the city money, it will also “alleviate administrative burden” incurred by staff members, Davis said, noting it took her one hour to calculate just one $28 credit from the hundreds backlogged.
The city will begin notifying customers, and the new policy will start Oct. 1. Sewer and polybutylene pipe credits will still be offered.