City Council Members Inundated With Complaints About New Sewer Bills; Hit Methods Of California Firm

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

City Council members said they are inundated with complaints about new sewer billings from a company in California - especially a $3 service fee.

Councilwoman Carol Berz called the actions of the firm "slimy."

Steve Leach, city public works administrator, said officials are in talks over what to do about the situation, and he said action will be taken.

He said it was the county which hired the California firm.

Councilwoman Sally Robinson, noting that the problem emerged after the Tennessee American Water Company quit handling the billings, said the matter is "a public relations disaster" for the water company.

But Mayor Ron Littlefield said he believes most people are taking their wrath out on the governments involved, instead of the water company.

He said the water company could have averted the problem for everyone by renegotiating its charges for adding the sewer charge to the water bill.

Council members said the billings from California are arriving just a few days before they are due to be paid. Councilwoman Berz said it seems to be coming via either "Pony Express or Slow Walk."

Councilman Peter Murphy said his wife is one of the chief complainants - especially after she opened the sewer bill and saw that it was due in three days or interest and penalties would be charged.

Councilman Jack Benson said, "This is one of the biggest problems we've had in a long time. And it's going to get worse."

Councilwoman Robinson asked if Chattanooga is the only city in the nation that does not own its own water system. Mayor Littlefield said there are a few, including Lexington, Ky., that he said is going through the same problems as Chattanooga.   

City resident Mike Mallen said he still has not gotten his sewer bill, so he said, "To try to be pro-active, i called the number for "pay by phone."

He said the main number had a message for "the Chattanooga Sewer Line," but said customer service was not available. He said it gave another number to call "during regular business hours."

Mr. Mallen said he called the number during California's regular business hours and got a message saying it was not a working number.

He said, "So they've created a fictitious number for the pay by phone." 
  


Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III Joins Group Of Attorneys General Urging Congress To Protect Religious Freedoms

Attorney General Slatery and 14 other state attorneys general have sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to take action to protect the tax-exempt status of nonprofit religious organizations following the decision of the United States Supreme Court in  Obergefell v. Hodges. The letter was prompted by comments U.S. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. made ... (click for more)

Witherow Charged In W. MLK Boulevard Rape

A Chattanooga man is being held on a $1-million bond after a woman told police he repeatedly beat her while raping her in public.  Richard Witherow, 46, of Chattanooga has been charged with one count of aggravated rape.  Police have charged Richard James Witherow with aggravated rape after a woman said she was raped along W. MLK Boulevard after meeting him at ... (click for more)

Why Chattanooga Should Stop Granting Apartment Complex PILOTs - And Response

A new report indicates why Chattanooga and Hamilton County officials do not need to extend PILOTs to apartment complex developers. Demand is high, therefore developers will continue to build to meet the demand without PILOTs. What is truly needed in the Chattanooga metroplex is low-income affordable housing. “Homeownership Drops to Lowest Level in Decades” ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Gun Control? Accuracy!

When President Barack Obama responded to the tragic killing of nine people who were worshiping at their beloved Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last month, he immediately blamed the gun, saying, “We don't have all the facts, but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hand on ... (click for more)

Dalton Edges Stuart Heights To Conclude Unbeaten Regular Season

The Dalton Dolphins had several key goals when the 2015 Chattanooga Area Swim League season began on the first day of June and they can put a big check mark by the first one, which was to go undefeated in the ever-competitive Blue division. They accomplished that goal before dark on Monday as they defeated a much-improved Stuart Heights squad by a 404-386 final that may have ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Hosts Nashville Friday In NPSL Playoffs

Chattanooga will host this weekend's National Premier Soccer League Southeast Conference playoffs. There are two semifinal matches on Friday with the two winners meeting in the Championship match the following night. “We’re very proud of the team for winning home field advantage,” said board member Krue Brock. “Now that every game is a must-win situation, it will be a big help ... (click for more)