Board of Public Works reviews customer-disputed bill

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A dispute regarding 38,000 gallons of water billed to a residential customer was cause for discussion Thursday morning, May 3, during the Board of Public Works meeting.

A Marshall resident addressed board members stating his bill hadn't exceeded 10,000 in one month prior to receiving the high bill. His water use, on average, was 3,200 gallons per month.

MMU officials stretched a policy for the customer, according to Administrative Services Director Ken Gieringer. The company retracted all sewer costs for that month and half of the excess water usage. This left roughly $40 in question that the customer was excessively charged.

"They wrote off like $56 in sewer ... and $38 for the water," the customer told board members. "Which still puts me at 19,000 gallons usage."

According to MMU officials, the company double-checked the meter reading. Additionally, the customer stated a plumber inspected the property for leaks.

"It's an unusual case," MMU General Manager Kyle Gibbs said. "The first thing that happens is we always assume there was an error in the reading, or in the unit ... He has no leaks and our reader shows no problems."

Board member Jim Heinzler asked if any neighbors had hooked up to the customer's water supply and others wondered if a running toilet tank might have been the cause. They seemed eager to come to a solution, however, ultimately decided MMU had gone out of its way to assist the customer and agreed to consider the matter closed.

After hearing from the customer, several projects were reviewed and board members approved a few items, including accepting a bit from Metal Doors and Frames for new power plant doors. These items were budgeted at $10,000 and board members accepted a bid of $10,731.20 minus sales tax.

The board also approved the inspection and repairing of safety relief valve on boilers for two units at the Electric Production department. In addition, they approved requesting proposals to remove mold in MMU's business office garage.

According to Gieringer, mold was identified in the ceiling of the garage as a result of water leaks.

"Is there a chance of it affecting people in your office," board member Ken Bryant asked.

Gieringer felt a concrete wall would slow that process, but stated he'd like to clean the area quickly.

The board went into closed session to discuss personnel matters. The next regular meeting is scheduled at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 15.

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