Monday, September 19, 2016

Editorial: Utility Bill Shock

In two recent postings in the Citizens for the Future of Baldwin City Community Facebook page citizens expressed their concerns about the costs of their September utility bills. They blamed the new 2.5% franchise fee.  However, if they were to look at the bills, they would have seen that the fee was a very tiny fraction of the bill.  After much talking and complaining, it was eventually pointed out that there were nine extra days on the bill, which amounted to almost an 33% overage of the bill.  Once this was hashed out, discussion continued about the difficulty to pay the bill.
The city does have an even pay, that is available, but only if the bill payer has been at the same address for one full year and has paid their bill on time. Other discussion centered around this paper taking using public comments in the group, and using them in the article. Some of whom said, they would go to the city council meeting and speak before them. Don't they realize, that their comments in a public forum, be it Facebook or the Council meeting can be used as a quote, without direct contact with them?
That being said, the paper could have taken more time in putting together the article. Especially being more thorough by including other factors that lead to the noticeably higher bill.  However, I am not convinced the extra nine days was completely at fault for the extra 33% in the charges. What other factors, could have lead to it, I am not sure, but our household is tightening our belts to get through the month.
It is not all doom and gloom, but those on fixed incomes do find it much more difficult and the city will work with those that have trouble. Payment arrangements can be made, by calling the city before the due date to make arrangements. A payment still has to be made by the regular due date as well.
What do you say folks? Can we get through the month, without complaining? Let's see how the bill looks next month.  In the meantime, if you need to make payment arrangements for this months bill, call the city and work something out.  Personally, my family will cut something out, while we still struggle to pay our escalating medical bills.

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