Thorsby makes changes to water fees

Published 6:04 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The town of Thorsby has made some changes to fees charged to new water customers and those with delinquent accounts. The town council approved the revised fees during Monday’s meeting.

The changes replace a $40 reconnect fee with a $50 non-payment fee for people who haven’t paid on their water bill in two months. The council also did away with water deposits, instead going with a new connection charge for people joining town water.

The change in the reconnect fee was needed because some customers would wait until water works employees were turning their water off before rushing to town hall to pay their bill, Mayor Dearl Hilyer said. They would then argue they shouldn’t have to pay the reconnect fee because their water hadn’t yet been disconnected.

The $50 non-payment fee will be assessed once the disconnect paperwork is done, before employees start turning water off.

Hilyer said the town would “just as soon not cut anyone’s water off,” but that the process should be fair for everyone.

“We are trying to get people to pay their bills and pay them on time,” Hilyer said.

The town will also do away with water deposits in favor of new connection fees. While the change won’t affect any current customers who paid deposits, new customers will have to pay a one-time charge that is close to what the deposits were. Amounts vary for homeowners (least expensive), mobile homes and renters (most expensive).

Hilyer said some people, most likely those renting, are often leaving without paying their final bills, and doing away with deposits would make settling people’s accounts a lot easier.

“You pay a fee to be connected — (then) you owe whatever is on your bill,” he said.

Hilyer said Thorsby has the cheapest water in the county and among the lowest in the state.

“We are at the very bottom of what we charge for our water and services,” he said.