By Charles Sercombe
Starting this month, city water bills will be going out once a month.
The first monthly bills should be mailed to each household by the end of March.
Emergency Manager Cathy Square said there was a combination of reasons to switch billing from every three months to monthly: cut down on the number of delinquent bills, make it less of a financial hit to households and create more cash flow for the city.
Hamtramck has had a serious problem with households falling way behind in paying water bills. As it stands now, there is $400,000 owed to the city that is over 60 days due.
The city is also cracking down on people who have been allowed to pay back delinquent water bills on a payment plan. Square said most of those on a payment plan have failed to live up to their agreement.
As a result, the city is moving aggressively to shut off water service. Those who received a water shut-off notice recently have until March 14 to pay up.
Square said that while there is no written policy on hardship cases, in the past the water department has allowed for special payment options. Square said she is reviewing what’s been done in the past and will be drawing up a written policy for consistency.
This isn’t the first time the city has cracked down on deadbeats. Last July, Square announced immediate water shut-offs to a number of households who were hundreds and thousands of dollars behind in payments.
The city’s action spurred a rush to city hall, where homeowners lined up to pay late bills to avoid a shut-off, or in many instances to turn their service back on.