Lingering questions surrounding City of Savannah water bills

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Step Up Savannah Residents Team hosted a Q&A on Wednesday to address the question of how Savannah is handling its water bills. The issue is still a concern for neighborhoods around the city.

"Over the hump and back on track" was the overarching message from City of Savannah Revenue Director Cindy Landolt at Wednesday's meeting.

"Those large increases in those base rates where we had to send the letter and the whole nine yards, no, they won't be seeing those again," Landolt said.

But that doesn't mean Savannah's citizens are satisfied just yet.

"A lot of us are wondering if someone is actually reading our water meter. Because it doesn't appear that we see anybody reading our meter."

Landolt fielded that question for us outside the meeting.

"There are different types of meters that are read in different ways, but they read each and every meter," Landolt said. "And that meter reading is what's used to calculate the consumption, which is used for the usage charge of the bill."

Landolt added sometimes meter readers can't get to the meter for one reason or another.  In those instances, usage is estimated based on prior average usage.

More questions and concerns surrounded the time people have to pay off large water bills.

Landolt says the city is still working with customers on a case-by-case basis, working out short-term payment plans for those who need it.

But enforcement of penalty for late payments will begin again at some point.

"What I will assure you is that there will be a multi-pronged approach to make sure all customers are aware before that action would ever take place, and give them plenty of opportunity to come to us and discuss any type of issues that they might have so that we can get them resolved prior to doing anything like that," Landolt explained.

Availability of online water bill payment was also brought up. Landolt says that part of the new billing system is still in testing.

The city anticipates online payments being ready sometime this spring.

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