Bessemer restaurant and catering business owner concerned over utilities billing

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 9:59 PM CDT
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BESSEMER, Ala. (WBRC) - A Jefferson County woman says her water is shut off multiple times a month by Bessemer Utilities, causing issues for her restaurant and catering business.

It all began in November 2021 when Bessemer Utilities surprised Chef Julia May at Homestyle Kitchen with a $41,000 bill.

“When I saw the bill, I’m like, ‘Hey. Wait a minute,’” said Chef May. ““My question is: How did it get there and why it took $41,000 before you come to get some money?”

May says the COVID-19 pandemic caused her to scramble and she did miss a few payments, but the huge bill was a big surprise. She took her issues to Jerry Yarbrough, the director of Bessemer Utilities. She said they talked about how to get the bill down.

She says after putting down a $6,500 deposit, she was put on a payment plan of $2,000 a month.

“I’m paying on time, so I’m thinking, and they shut my water off,” said May. “I’m like - ‘You can’t do anything without no water. Why is the water off?’”

The chef says this started happening in January and her water gets cut off 3-4 times a month which causes problems for her business.

“I had two catering jobs yesterday,” she added. “Couldn’t do them so I had to give back money I didn’t have.”

Because the problem continued for so many months, May decided to then bring the problem to the city council. She says the mayor met with Yarbrough and then she met with him on Thursday.

“They came up with another solution,” she continued. “I’m supposed to be paying $2,225 versus the $2,000.”

May says that’s also when she was informed the payments were due by the 30th of each month, which is something nobody told her prior. She’s wanting the utilities company to remain consistent and stick to its word.

“I just pray that from this point on, they hold down their end of the bargain,” May said.

WBRC FOX6 reached out to Bessemer Utilities on Friday for answers, but have not received a response as of Friday night.


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