Tardy Rogersville water bills result in late fee deadline extension

Jeff Bobo • Jan 11, 2019 at 9:30 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Rogersville water customers will have an extra six days to pay their bill this month before incurring a late fee because the water department’s billing company failed to get the new bills in the mail on time.

Water Superintendent Bill Pearson told the BMA on Tuesday that the billing information was submitted to the billing company on Dec. 20.

But those bills weren't mailed until Jan. 2. Pearson also noted that they weren't postmarked until Jan.4, and customers didn't receive their bills until Jan. 7.

Under normal circumstances, the bills would be due on Jan. 12, and they would be late after Jan. 15, when a late fee would be applied.

Pearson asked the BMA if he should waive late fees in January or extend the due date.

"It has happened before, and we've extended the late fee deadline that time," said Alderman Mark DeWitte, who was also a member of the former Water Commission. "We more or less set a precedent that we're going to have to extend the late fee (deadline)."

The BMA agreed to extend the late fee deadline to Jan. 18 and the cutoff date to Jan. 28.

Customers who receive a late notice in the mail after Jan. 18 will be notified of the extended cutoff deadline, which City Attorney Bill Phillips said would be required by law.

Alderman Craig Kirkpatrick asked if the city has any recourse against the billing company.

"We've talked to them like dogs," Pearson replied. "That's all I can say. It's a contract that's renewed every year automatically. I'll have to look at what it says about performance."

Another Ballad Health resolution

With the approval of a resolution on Tuesday, the Rogersville BMA joined numerous other governmental entities in the region in formally expressing opposition to changes in services proposed by Ballad Health.

In Hawkins County, the County Commission and Church Hill BMA have already approved similar resolutions opposing Ballad’s intention of reducing Holston Valley Medical Center’s Trauma Center from a Level 1 to Level 3, leaving the region’s only Level 1 trauma care at Johnson City Medical Center.

The resolutions also express opposition to Ballad’s proposed transfer of all NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) services to JCMC, as well as the relocation of Allandale’s cancer treatment center to the campus of Indian Path Medical Center.

DeWitte, who also serves on the Hawkins County Commission, requested that the Rogersville resolution be drafted by Phillips.

"People have approached me about the one the county did, and they say thank you for stopping them from doing that," DeWitte said. "Well, we’re not stopping them from doing that. We're telling them we don't like it. We're asking them to reconsider."