Bristol County Water Authority may impose late fees

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The Bristol County Water Authority’s plan to hold property owners financially responsible for their tenants’ water use was met with strong opposition from landlords at a public hearing on June 5. So the BCWA came up with another idea – implement interest charges and fees to delinquent customers to offset losses from write-offs. That idea was presented at the BCWA board meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 28.

Although the board does not plan to hold a similar public hearing on the proposed measures, the board does plan to vote on it at their next monthly meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m.

The motion to begin assessing a 1-percent interest charge on late payments and an undetermined tagging fee to customers whose property receives a tag to notify them of potential shut-off was put forward by Robert Allio, a Barrington representative. Other ideas, such as increasing the amount of deposits customers must pay before getting service and offering automatic payment options were tabled until the BCWA upgrades its computer system. Another idea, to publicize the names of ratepayers who are in arrears, was suggested, but not considered.

“I think the general public looks at 30 to $40,000 as a drop in the bucket,” said Warren representative, William Gosselin.

That amount goes uncollected annually by BCWA customers who don’t pay their water bills.

If the board approves the methods of collecting additional revenue from ratepayers, it will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

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