Water billing crisis No. 1 priority for new DeKalb County CEO - CBS46 News

Water billing crisis No. 1 priority for new DeKalb County CEO

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The new year got off to a rough start for DeKalb County’s new leadership as taxpayers blasted elected officials about a water billing crisis which hasn’t been resolved.

“This kind of crap has got to stop. You’ve got to start managing things correctly,” water customer Molly Badgett said. “People were overbilled, they paid too much for water and they need to be made whole again,” Badgett said.

Badgett gave county leaders an earful and demanded a solution, so we asked new CEO Michael Thurmond if it’s on his radar.

“It’s priority  No. 1 in the Thurmond administration. That was the first issue I took up the first day I came to work and we are going to resolve this issue. The citizens deserve a better outcome than the one that we’ve had. There are no excuses. It’s unacceptable and we are going to correct this horrible situation,” Thurmond said.

Thurmond said he will continue the moratorium on water cuts offs until the county can get to the root of the problem.

“Now that some people have not been receiving water bills, it has triggered Code Enforcement to send notices to homeowners saying you haven’t told us you have a vacant property, you must have a vacant property because you’re not being billed water.  Could it not have been anticipated and avoided?” Badgett asked.

“My concern is that the inaccurate water bills may be a symptom as opposed to a root cause of the problem. We want to address it, we want to end this debacle and provide the taxpayers and consumers of DeKalb County with the type of service they expect and deserve,” Thurmond said.

And while Thurmond hasn’t offered a detailed plan to resolve the issue, he has promised results.

“Change is about to be made. Clemson won last night, they beat Alabama. That’s a change. Presiding officers come and go, that’s a change. Presidents come and go, that’s a change. So changes have to be made,” water customer Joscelyn O’Neil said.    

Thurmond said his No. 2 priority is to reduce the blighted properties in the county. He said he will be meeting with county leaders on this issue on Wednesday.

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