FLINT TWP. — Between rinsing and cleaning, a dental office uses its fair share of water, but Steve Taft says a $0 water bill he’s been receiving lately is as senseless as a $1,000 one-month charge that was part of a shutoff notice.
Taft, a dentist, appealed to the township Board of Trustees at its August 15 meeting to waive a $603 penalty that is steadily accruing on charges he believes he received in error.
Taft said his troubles began when the owners of his building in the Trillium Office Center, 2222 South Linden Road, went into receivership. The owner had handled Taft’s water bills for the past 20 years without issue.
A bank in Pittsburgh now owns the building and with that change of ownership came Taft’s water woes.
Taft said he received a shutoff notice for a back bill totaling about $4,500. The notice was addressed to the defaulted owners, but Taft said he paid the bill to avoid shutoff because he needs water to operate.
Since Taft had his water meter transferred into his name, for the past few billing cycles he has been receiving statements incorrectly showing zero consumption.
“Now we feel we may have been billed for an account that wasn’t ours and a penalty that wasn’t ours,’’ he said.
Having reviewed office records showing average water bills of about $200 a month, Taft determined that a $1,000 bill for February, part of the $4,500 back bill, is equal to five months of consumption for his office.
Taft asked the board for a credit for overpayment and a waiver of a mounting penalty fee.
Supervisor Karyn Miller told Taft told he would have to appeal the overpayment credit to John O’Brien, director of the county’s water and waste services division.
The township board has authority to waive the penalty fee but Miller’s motion that Taft’s request be added to the agenda was defeated 4-3 because some trustees objected to the last-minute addition to the agenda and asked for more time to review Taft’s documentation.
Miller told Taft his case would be added to the September 6 board agenda.
Meanwhile, Miller said that O’Brien is sorting out meter readings at Trillium.
“There are several meters over there and they have no idea which meter is hooked up to which business,’’ she said. “It’s a mess over there and John O’Brien in working on that.’’