Special Assignments Editor
An oversight in the implementation of a new Jourdanton city ordinance involving water billing caused confusion iduring the month of October.
According to the City of Jourdanton’s website, water bills are due the 12th of every month by 5 p.m. Unpaid bills will receive a late fee of 10 percent and are due the 22nd of every month. Disconnects are done 23rd of every month and a $30 late/disconnect fee is applied.
The ordinance changed the due date’s time to 3 p.m. When water bills went out for the month, the time still reflected 5 p.m. The agenda for the October city council meeting read as follows:
“…We strive to minimize mistakes but from time to time they happen and for this we apologize. The ordinance was passed for clerical issues that receiving payments up to 5:00 on the 12th day of the months caused. It was also intended to help customers that paid late by allowing us time to inform them of the late charge. From time to time customers that paid late, just dropped the payment off and the system assessed the late fee which caused their water to be shut off on the 22nd day of the month. The intent is to help in these situations.”
Agenda items to help resolve the issue were discussed and voted on. The council voted to approve to allow the city manager to implement a grace period for the late fees assessed. City Manager Kendall Schorsch asked the council that he be allowed to implement a grace period for the customers who incurred October late fees and that those fees be credit back to their accounts and go towards the next month’s bills. The council voted unanimously to allow the credits.
Council member Ray Morales thanked Schorsch for admitting the mistake and making the correction.
Moving foward, Schorsch shared an idea regarding charges relating to water leaks. He asked that the city average the three previous months’ bills with the leak month and use that as the amount due in the event of a water leak. This could only be allowed if the customer shows receipts where the leak had been fixed and they’d also need to present a signed and notarized affidavit . This circumstance would only be allowed once every 36 months. The council voted and approved this new ordinance unanimously.