Four Additional Huntington Council Members Want HSB Answers

Updated 1 year ago by Tony E. Rutherford, News Editor
Four Additional Huntington Council Members Want HSB Answers
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Four additional members of Huntington City Council --- Alex Vence, Tina Brooks, Rebecca Thacker and Charlie McComas --- have joined Jennifer Wheeler in requesting response from the Huntington Sanitary Board to a surge of consumer complaints .

Council vice chairman Alex Vence told HNN:

"I share Councilwoman Wheeler's concerns about the ongoing billing issues coming out of the Sanitary Board. It is imperative that we find out what is causing these issues, and quickly work towards a solution. I have spoken to many residents that are understandably angry and frustrated by the entire process and I am sensitive to their frustrations. We must demand an improvement in the billing process."

At large councilwoman Rebecca Thacker shares their concerns, too.

Thacker particularly emphasized those customers who were not , so called 'deadbeats.'  She explained that many on fixed incomes, the elderly, terminally ill, and single moms face priority choices --- medicine, milk or water cut offs. Thacker pointed out cited turn offs where $14 was owed and it cost $114 to get water back on.

One Facebook posting compared the practices to those of bank overdraft fees and late credit card fees that perpetually plague low income earners.

When asked about allegations of bills for previous property owners turning up (with the current owner paid up), Vence stated, "Something is askew," adding that billing has been "bid out" and Teresa Watkins is the chief financial officer.

Councilwoman Tina Brooks told HNN she was not happy concerning a fluid leak at Arlington Park and street sweeping overtime:

"I'm having a letter drafted to send to the mayor Monday (July 18) asking for a complete report from the Director of the Sanitary Board on the hydraulic fluid leak  that took place in Arlington Park. I'm wanting to have it addressed in a manner that everyone in the Arlington Park area knows what we have been told, as well as how the Sanitary Board is being compensated by the street sweeping contractors for the overtime that this caused."

She said "this is not the first time I've dealt with HSB since I've been on council."

As for any comments in reference to the residents water being shut off ,Mrs. Brooks has no comments until she hears from the Public and the Director of the Sanity Board regarding those issues which will be on the 24th

In the prior story, Ms. Wheeler responded to a complaint that a customer received a current bill  and a cutoff notice simultaneously.

"I join John McAulay   in seeking an explanation for the billing . It would appear that the Sanitary Board is having. In response to your Facebook post, I have sent a request to the City for a formal presentation to be held prior to, during, or immediately following the next Council meeting. I am asking that the presentation include an explanation of the relationship between the City and Sanitary Board, the internal structure of the organization, and billing- what each fee is for, why some are receiving multiple bills, and the plan to consolidate and solve the billing problems."

John McAulay had  told Ms. Wheeler on Facebook:

"I've received an original bill and past due bill on the same day. I'm not saying there aren't people who don't pay their bills but many do and we shouldn't have to worry that if we miss a call or are out of town and miss one of their false notices of non-payment that we will be without water."

The increasing complaints follow announcements that the board has sent out 4,000 water disconnection notices.

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