Friday, October 21, 2011

Deerfield Beach Wading Through Water Bills and Charging Incorrectly

Here's a report from Elgin Jones from the S. Florida Times 10-20-2011

The city of Deerfield Beach is dealing with more than 6,000 water, sewer and garbage accounts that were never added to its billing database for more than a decade. Many of those customers can’t be located. Others have moved to new addresses and opened new accounts. Instead of addressing this latest failure and mismanagement catastrophe, City Manager Burgess Hanson has embarked on an obscure debt collection practice. Through some unknown process, his staff is identifying people they believe owe the outstanding debts and arbitrarily adding those amounts to the customers’ current accounts. Water bills from years ago are surprising residents and many dispute they owe the bills at all. But that is not stopping Hanson’s team from merging the old debts with customers’ current bills and turning off their water if they do not pay up. This unusual debt collection tactic is occurring in the predominantly black areas of the city. In addition to being callous, it may also violate state and federal debt collection laws. Stay tuned.

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