City reporting good news for water bills, neighbors not in agreement

SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – If you received one of those large water bills last year from the city of Savannah you want answers.

Several neighbors wanted them tonight at a neighborhood meeting with water officials. What they heard in some part made it clear the city may have to look at these large billings as a case by case basis.

The water department says bills are circulating and payments are getting back to normal. If you ask neighbors though, it,s not business as usual as they deal with bills three to four times as much as they’re used to.

“I don’t understand why my water bill would have quadrupled like that,” says one neighbor.

“I’d be foolish to say the process went as smoothly as we expected it did not,” adds Revenue director Cindy Landolt.

A year later “smooth” is the word Cindy Landolt with the Savannah revenue department is using to describe water bill distribution. You wouldn’t think that if you saw the bills these neighbors are seeing.

“Have there been some errors in these calculations or have they been spot on,” asks one neighbor who brought his bill to the meeting.

The city says they have been spot on.

“We are not seeing any systemic issues with the bills, the bills are calculating correctly,” says Landolt.

A majority of the people talking water bills saw theirs jump in the last year. Landolt says from what’s been put in front of her office, that’s not the city’s doing.

“We have seen increased usage and understanding that the bills, the total amount on the bill is very much the amount used by the customer.”

After questions about meter maids and reading meters, she is not ruling out though human error could have taken place.

“If we are experiencing  issue where there are unexplained or unforeseen increases in bills then the next thing that we have to look at the meter itself to make sure the meter is reading appropriately and to make sure that there was no misread of the meters.”

The city revenue department has set up the payment plans for water users to pay large bills. Landolt’s office spoke on the base rate hike most customers saw in their final bill, that was due to bills only going out five times last year. she expects bills to all level out as the year goes on.

“Those large base rates where we had to send the letter and the whole nine yards no they won’t be seeing those again.”

Landolt expects to meet with revenue and water department administrators in the next week or two. They will talk about when to reinstate the penalties for late payments or unpaid bills.

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