Thirteen Thousand Residents Owe For Sewer Service

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Harrison Pirtle
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Updated: 10/23/2013 6:42 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) --- Chattanooga homeowners may ask---"Will Tennessee American really turn off my water if I don't pay my sewer bill?"
That's one of many unanswered questions as the city tries to find ways to deal with 13-thousand customers who have overdue bills.
But, it's a lot more complicated than just turning off the water.

The Andy Berke administration is far from happy about the problems its having collecting sewer fees.
At last report private property owners owed the city more than 2-million dollars in sewer bills.
It's giving city leaders some anxious moments.

TRAVIS MCDONOUGH, CHIEF OF STAFF, BERKE ADMINSTRATION " We want to be fair to everybody and let everybody know that as we address this problem we'll be fair with the customers and take action that protects the customers and the tax payers at large."

Two years ago, Tennessee American Water company notified the city it would stop combining the sewer bill effective January of this year.
The Littlefield administration last August signed a 4 year contract with ENCO Utility Services of Anaheim, California.
But, the company's work has brought complaints from customers and various city leaders.

TRAVIS MCDONOUGH "We inherited a situation that ..that's not perfect and its going to take some time to work through it." "Its going to result in a workable solution."

Berke's Chief Operating officer Andrew Kean mentioned cutting off water service during the Tuesday night council meeting.
But there's no agreement with Tennessee American to do that.
Both administrations have looked into having the city-owned Electric Power Board do the billing for sewer services.
But it will be several months to set up that computer program.

CAROL BERZ, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER "Its nothing to be alarmed about other than they are keeping us informed on trends."

LARRY GROHN, CITY COUNCIL MEMBER "We're working with a contract that was created by the previous administration I think the city needs to proceed with caution on this. We're not going to run out there and shut off everybody's water."

City leaders admit there are talks going on with Tennessee American Water to eventually begin service interruptions, in case other steps don't work in getting deadbeat customers to pay their sewer bills.

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Chatt resident - 10/24/2013 4:10 AM
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I think that this was a rip off anyway because when TN American water wanted to raise their rates and was told no they came up with this. so now instead of the average house paying 30 dollars for water and sewer we pay 30 for water and then 30 for sewer. Well i guess they got their water rate hike anyway.
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