PSJ commissioners clash over utility rate waiver policy

Published: Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 09:44 AM.

Port St. Joe commissioners on Tuesday engaged in a testy discussion about a policy to waive utility fees in certain circumstances.

At the last meeting commissioners tabled a request to adjust or waive a bill from a resident. The bill was well outside the customer’s normal usage and was, he said, the result of a leak he did not cause or was aware of.

Commissioners tabled the request to adjust the bill to establish a policy to provide staff with parameters for dealing with contested bills.

City manager Jim Anderson said staff makes adjustments each month, the numbering fluctuating month by month and season by season, but which can run as high as 100 in a given month.

City attorney Tom Gibson said that the current policy for such adjustments is in line with surrounding municipalities.

The draft policy put before commissioners during their regular bi-monthly meeting Tuesday, crafted with input from Anderson, Gibson and the city’s accounting firm, Roberson and Associates, was not what Commissioner William Thursbay said he was looking for, moving immediately to adjust the bill in question.

Thursbay said the prior six months prior to the month in question – resulting in a bill of more than $4,000 for water and sewer combined on a residential property – should be averaged and that number represent the customer’s bill for that contested month.

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