DeKalb County CEO updates progress for water customers

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It's a frustration for many in DeKalb County. No water bill for months and then the bomb drops with the county wanting customers to pay for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond once again took the microphone Thursday night to address residents’ concerns.

Amid a heavy rainfall at the Maloof Auditorium in Decatur, people continued to file in to attend the meeting. Those who were there were pretty upset about their water bills. Thurmond addressed progress and issues. In the end, he said it is more important to restore trust in the system than to collect money.

"We have made and are making significant progress in addressing these issues," said Thurmond.

Since taking office in January, Thurmond said he has spent about 70 percent of his time working on the water bill issue and solutions.

"It's been tough, I’ll be quite honest with you, it’s been extremely difficult," said Thurmond.

They report service technician staffing was double. They are working on bids to replace more than 60,000 meters that are out-of-date. About 4,000 of the 40,000 meters with manufacturing errors have already been replaced. They increased staffing in the call center and this week, they approved a $5 million new billing software system, but he admitted there is a lot more work to do.

Thurmond announced a fourth meeting will take place in August. By then, he said he will have addressed all issues and come up with resolutions for these problems. Until then, people said they keep putting their names in for disputes and paying what they can to keep the water flowing.

More than 8,000 bills were released this week. About 27,000 bills are still held to resolve issues.