Proposal two split water and sewer bill causes controversy in Bi - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Proposal two split water and sewer bill causes controversy in Birmingham

Source: WBRC video Source: WBRC video

A showdown is brewing at the statehouse Wednesday. Birmingham Representative Mary Moore has introduced a bill to split the water and sewer bill into two separate bills.

Currently the Birmingham Water and Sewer Board collects the bill as one bill. For some it has been tough to pay both bills at once.

"Outrageous. Really high," Brandi Colston said.

Some customers like to pay both bills at once, but others would like to see the bills split into two separate bills.

"You never know what you are paying when you see it all together. It would be better to break it down for you," Colston said.

But Jefferson County Commissioners disagree.

"I think the bill is disastrous. I think it would send ripples through the financial community where we have restored credibility," Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington said.

The county has come out of bankruptcy with a plan which has an established billing procedure. Some commissioners believe a new billing system threats their agreements with debtors.

"That would stretch us really thin as far as resources to try and do the collections ourselves. We have a long standing relationship with water board and we would like to work on that to continue," Jefferson County Commissioner Joe Knight said.

The proposed bill would also prevent the termination of water service for failing to pay a sewer bill. Jefferson County Manager Tony Petelos said the county opposes this provision.

"The problem we have is not being able to cut the water off. That's a major issue. If you put a lien on the property no one is going to pay their bill," Petelos said.

Petelos said there are also concerns about increased costs of a new billing system and possible increase legal actions. The hearing is set for 11 a.m. at the statehouse in Montgomery.

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