DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Dozens of angry DeKalb County water customers turned out Tuesday night at a Board of Commissioners where they were told it’s getting better. It’s been 18 months since the county acknowledged problems with costly and, for many customers, inaccurate water bills.
One of the people to take the microphone during the public input session was Jennifer Tate.
“What 18 months since that first meeting at Maloof auditorium and we really don’t see any improvement, this is a problem,” said Tate.
Chris Horner said he keeps getting bills for a now-demolished home.
“I’m still being billed for the water at the house. I don’t live there I don’t own the house. The house has been demolished and there’s no meter in the ground,” said Horner.
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond was elected into office in part on a promise to help solve the water billing issues but he wasn’t at the board of commissioners meeting. The county has spent millions on replacing faulty meters, new software upgrades, and improvements to a call center.
Jo-Handy Sewel is the chair of a citizen advisory groups studying water billing issues.
“We found that meters were a vast majority of the problem,” said Handy-Sewell.
She said a moratorium is in place until June of this year flagging problem water bills.
Handy-Sewell also told the crowd when Thurmond took office there were 37,000 disputed water bills which she says is now way down.
“We are down to 765 disputed water bills,” said Handy-Sewell.
But many in the crowd dispute that number including Gaye Stathis, one of the advisory board members, who points to the moratorium.
“With the disputed accounts in Moratorium how can you know that the situation is better,” said Stathis.
It’s a situation which for now has left many customers with a lingering concern.
“If we are told of your specific problem you will get an answer,” said Handy-Sewell.