BEAVERCREEK — The Greene County Sanitary Engineering Department recognized the difficult situation they put their water customers in after receiving their recent billing statements. They sought to resolve the issues.
“We had to implement a new billing program because our current system no longer met with the current guidelines,” Greene County Engineer Ron Volkerding said. “With new things, this change started off a little rocky. Once we went live, we had to work on the technical issues.”
The issue became when the water bills went from a one month billing cycle to a three month cycle, without warning to the customers. Since receiving the new bills, customers had been calling the water department and city council members trying to determine the reason for the change and asking for assistance on paying the bill, especially individuals on a fixed income and families that have large water usages.
“We are letting them know that because this was a Greene County issue, they would not be penalized with late payment fees or shut-offs until the county is on a regular schedule and people have an opportunity to catch up on their bill,” Volkerding said.
The customers were not the only ones upset about the sudden, unannounced changes. City council members were also not very happy with the county to have to put them in the position of explaining county policies and procedures.
“We heard there were letters sent to the residents after the bills were received. It would have been nice that they were mailed out either at the time the bills were mailed or before,” Beavercreek Council Member Debborah Wallace said. “I just wish the county handled the situation just a little bit differently.”
“I take full responsibility and apologize,” Volkerding said. “The biggest issue was that the meter reading procedure didn’t work well with the new billing software.”
Since the billing, the meter reading have been caught up and residents are asked to call the county to set up payment arrangements if the total bill is too much of a burden at this time. Since the meter readings have been completed and entered properly into the new system, new bills will go out.
The new bills will credit any overpayments and/or show the corrected balances due.
“I think people will really like the new billing system once they get used to it,” Volkerding said.