Another Plea to Fix the Water Billing Screw-ups

From: Peter Gagne []
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2016 11:32 AM
To: Stiltner, Scott
Subject: Water Billing Issue
I live in District 4 and would like to inform you of my opinions regarding the water billing error issue that has been in the news lately. I understand that some customers have been undercharged for their City water usage and that the council is considering back charging these customers. I am adamantly opposed to this idea if the error was made on the part of the City. The City essentially operates a monopoly and is free to set utility fee rates within reason. When the City then sends a bill for said services, the customer has a reasonable right to assume that the bill is accurate.
Furthermore, they come to rely on the anticipated future expense based upon their prior usage history for budgetary purposes. If the customer is overcharged through no fault of their own, they have a right to expect a refund. However, if they were undercharged through no fault of their own, the City has no right to back-charge them which essentially amounts to extortion. The error was likely caused by an employee, and appropriate measures should be taken against said employee if appropriate. The problem ultimately lies with the employees’ superiors who failed to exercise sufficient oversight, and I would hope that, going forward, a better system would be employed to prevent this embarrassing situation from arising in the future. Notices should be sent out to all customers advising them of the increase with an explanation of the past error. If the billing errors were caused by fraudulent actions of the customers, then the City should pursue all legal avenues to collect the amount owned including punitive damages if appropriate.
I hope that you will consider my comments in making your decision on this matter. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter further. Thank you.
Peter Gagne
686 Breckenridge Drive
Port Orange, FL 32127
(386) 316-8023

3 thoughts on “Another Plea to Fix the Water Billing Screw-ups

  • January 12, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    Guess Ted Noftall is not the only one in the city who expects competence and a private sector mindset from the city. Yep …it’s all about management and accountability. Making nice has nothing to do with it. This is business.

  • January 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks for your insightful and well written comments about our current water billing problem.
    This particular problem, and many others finally being addressed by the Manager (see “City Manager’s Memo to Council” on this blog), were first pointed out by Ted Noftall. Under normal conditions when problems are pointed out to management, management takes steps to correct the problems. With the situation we have in Port Orange, however, when problems are pointed out by Ted the City Council and the City Manager go out of their way to minimize the problem and in fact to blame Ted for pointing it out.
    If you think this is an exaggeration just come to the next City Council meeting and watch the body language. Stiltner will not even acknowledge Ted’s presence by looking up. Burnette already stabbed him in the back last year with his insane diatribe about the Audit and Budgey Board. Mayor Green has called him an “ass.” Bob Ford cringes in embarrassment whenever Ted gets up to speak because of his disloyal, weasaling, treatment of his former supporter.
    Nice to see citizens paying attention even when thier elected officials do not.

  • January 13, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Where were the Finance Director and Port Orange City Council when this outrageous policy of back charging for mistakes the city made was being hatched? The Port Orange City Council seems to be out of the loop on important information for policy formatiion. So exactly who is running the City of Port Orange? As far as I am concerned, the entire Port Orange City Council could be done away with and Ted Noftall put in charge of overseeing the City Manager. Am I correct that it was Ted Noftall under protest was the first to pay his back charges because of a City billing mistake? Didn’t he pay that $680.00 back billing charges at City Hall with WFTV filming his paying under protest? And wasn’t it the City Manager who told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Ted, Candidate for Mayor had not paid in full the water charges for 15 years? And wasn’t it Ted Noftall, Candidate for Mayor who asked at a City Council meeting that the city manager explain to the public at the city council meeting his statement to the News-Journal, and Mayor Allen Green said the city manager didn’t have to explain his statement to the public? Do you think I make this all up? This is not unbelievable, it is Port Orange City Government of the past and the present, and the unwillingness or ineffectiveness of City Council to change the attitude of City Hall concerning citizens much less a candidate for Mayor of Port Orange. Do you get my drift people? This is serious business which in the long run will affect you.
    Do you have your fingers crossed that in the next water bill presented to you, you might be charged $3000.00 for a water leak which the city feels has no responsibility to alert you about. But, pay the bill they want you to, even though you have water restrictions to not use excessive water and only water your lawn on certain days. Water is precious, and this City of Port Orange has been drowning in water issues of all sorts in the past years, and even up to now, 1 13 16. Oh, there I go again, bringing up all the negatives of recent years. — hank springer 1 13 16


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