St. Joseph Man on Edge Over Sewer Charges

Published 04/03 2014 05:11PM

Updated 04/03 2014 10:55PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) "If I'm only using it for three days, I feel like I ought to be billed for three days and not a full charge," stated Tyler Clark.

Clark is frustrated with his recent sewer bill for a rental property he owns in town.

He was charged the exact amount for both bills; one for 30 days and the other, only three days.

"I don't think they're doing any checking. As long as their checks keep rolling in, I don't think they're too worried about it," added Clark.

Clark says this isn't the first time this has happened. He says he's called before for the same issue and his bill was adjusted.

"I'm a busy person but but I'm not busy enough to let it slide when someone's taking money from me that they don't deserve," said Clark.

"It would have looked like an active bill that was billed appropriately, that's correct," said Judy Hovey, associate director of finance and revenue for the city.

Hovey says the city only mails the bills to customers. Meter readings are done by the Missouri American Water company.

Since the system is automated and the city only has two staff members who process bills, it's harder to catch errors.

"It could slip by, we've got 26 active accounts plus another thousand or more final accounts, it is possible," added Hovey.

Hovey says the automated system wasn't created for property owners who lease since tenants are constantly moving in and out.

"Trying to keep track of every date and every exact item that happens is frustrating for both them and us," added Hovey.

"They acknowledged that they knew this was going on. They didn't beat around about it and there's no excuses," said Clark.

The flat rate bill is averaged based on usage during winter months. 

In Clark's case, he was billed incorrectly and now has a credit of more than $70. But he says something needs to be done

"There's just no reason for people to be overcharged for something especially when they're not getting the service," added Clark.

Hovey says they strive to correct issues in a timely manner and if there are concerns they want to address them in a timely matter.

"Before the bills actually go out to try and be a little more proactive in helping customers," stated Hovey.

To learn more about the Missouri American Water company, click here.

If you have questions for the City of St. Joseph about your sewer bill, please call (816) 271-4773.

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