The Sewerage & Water Board has failed to collect more than $134 million in charges racked up by customers over the last three years, money that amounts to almost half the operating budget of the financially ailing agency.Jesus, if you don't know that the number is even real, why publicize it? Part of the context here concerns the mayor and various state legislators' pursuit of a grand bargain over ways to bolster S&WB funds with tourism revenues. Currently, that deal looks more like a capitulation on the mayor's part than anything else, as we wrote yesterday.
City Council members have questioned the amount owed to the utility for months, and at a public works committee on Tuesday S&WB officials detailed the scope of the problem. But they said more research is needed to determine how much of the money is due to unpaid bills rather than errors or other issues.
So it's hard to know how to feel about the question of whether this business about uncollected bills puts all that in jeopardy. On the one hand, we'd probably prefer to wait until SWB learns how to bill your its accurately and on time before we take this seriously.
OR maybe Jason Williams will just go ahead and believe whatever you tell him.
Council members said those arguments would be undermined -- and support from state officials would be lost -- if it seemed the S&WB was letting collectible debts slip through the cracks.And maybe that's for the best if it blows up the bad deal for now. It probably won't. In any case, if this touches off another round of water shut-off threats aimed at ratepayers, we should demand that S&WB prove it really is owed what it says it is before any action is taken.
“We’re talking about $140 million being on the table and we’re asking for people to come save us?” Councilman Jason Williams asked.