City discovers 70 customers who have never been billed for monthly sewer fees
For 70 city of Cairo utilities customers their next bill will include an additional charge.
In the process of investigating water losses, Public Works Director Raymond Stokes has discovered 70 customers who have had city sewer anywhere from five to 10 years but have never paid for the service.
The discovery was made when Stokes began a comprehensive review of meter readings for small water users that use less than 1,000 gallons per month. Such customers would show up on zero consumption reports.
The public works director also requested a list of water customers that do not have a sewer account, which typically would indicate an irrigation meter.
Through his analysis Stokes found where routing sheets sent to the city building department were never transmitted to the utility’s billing office to begin billing customers after the sewer taps were made by city crews.
According to Stokes, the 70 customers involved paid for sewer taps, but they have never been billed for sewer by the city.
“I accept part of the blame, because I assumed the routing sheets were being sent to the utility billing office. This didn’t just happened. It has occurred over a period of time and during that time duties have changed,” Stokes said.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton said the city would notify the 70 customers affected by the change in the next billing cycle for utilities.
“I give Raymond credit for going through the tedious process and being able to identify these 70 customers who should be being billed for sewer,” City Manager Addleton said.
Through this process Stokes has also identified between 30 and 40 customers that have access to city sewer, but have not paid to tap into the sewer system.
“It will be up to the council to decide whether to enforce the code and require these people to hook on to sewer,” Stokes said.
With water losses as high as 35 percent this year the surprise news for September was that the difference between the gallons of water pumped out of the ground and the gallons sold to utilities customers had dropped to approximately 12 percent, which is within the industry standard for water losses.
The city pumped just over 8 million gallons less in September than it did in August, but the city sold just over 1 million gallons more in September over August.
“This is good news, but one data point doesn’t make a trend. I really want to see more data points,” Addleton said.
City officials cannot explain why the numbers showed such significant improvement.
“We have repaired any leaks that would make up that difference,” Stokes said.