Town clamping down on unpaid water bills

A number of Middletown residents have been struggling to pay for water and sewage, according to town officials.

At a recent work session, Councilwoman Carole Snyder-Jones brought up an on-going issue of residents who cannot pay their water bills.

She said many of the same residents have trouble paying their bills every month.

Town Treasurer Rebecca “Becky” Layman noted that 104 residents received cut-off notices for not paying their water bills in the last billing cycle.

Layman explained that the town charges residents for water on a 45-day, two-month basis with rates at $7.35 per 1,000 gallons, on top of a $32 service fee that’s “guaranteed on every bill.”

Layman has been with the town since 2009 and noted that this has been a persistent problem over the years.

In the past, Layman said, the town would make courtesy phone calls to residents who had not paid their water bills by the 44th day of the cycle. The town would be warning residents of a water service cut-off.

“We’re basically saying, ‘all that’s going to end,” Layman added. “There is going to be no courtesy phone calls,” or payment plan agreements from the town.

In the past, Layman said, “There were just tons of payment arrangements made, and it’s just very time consuming when you do that” to check up on each individual plan.

Now, residents failing to pay their water bill on time will receive a cut-off notice, according to Layman. “The cut off day is typically 15 days from that [notice].”

“We’re getting ready to bill out on May 15. If they haven’t paid them by June 30, then they are going to be cut off,” Layman explained.

On top of that, Layman noted that residents who fall into this category will have to pay additional fees of $50 for water service termination and $50 for the service to be turned back on.

This was a fee that the town began instituting two years ago, as Layman noted, to “help reduce the problem.”

The talk at the May 2 work session was to “reiterate again that the council agrees that it’s the bottom line,” Layman said. “I mean, there’s a one-time deferment payment.

“If you’ve already had one of those, there’s no exceptions, your water’s cut off.”

As to why residents have been struggling to pay, Layman said, “I don’t know … I can tell you they gave 101 excuses. I mean, we all have bills, you just have to figure out how to manage your money and pay those.”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com