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Middlesex changes water sewer billing

The Town of Middlesex is changing the way it bills citizens for water and sewer services.

Commissioners voted unanimously last Monday night to change the billing of water and sewer services from the nearest thousand to the nearest gallon.

Currently, the town is charging residents $4.50 per 1,000 gallons for water and $13 per 1,000 gallons for sewer.

“Now we’re billing to the nearest thousand,” Mayor LuHarvey Lewis said. “We want to change it so we can bill to the exact gallon.”

Lewis said changing the billing system to bill per gallon would make bills easier for citizens to understand.

In a memo to commissioners, Town Clerk Jennifer Lambert said in the past, the last three digits of the meter reading were truncated, not rounded, which dropped the hundreds of gallons used. This caused the consumer to be billed for those gallons when the meter rolled over to the next 1,000 gallons.

Lambert said this resulted in consumer’s bills fluctuating from month to month and many didn’t understand why their bills changed from month to month when they used to same amount of water.

Lambert added that a lot of time is spent explaining the variations in usage to customers and changing the billing to bill for every gallon used would solve the issue.

In a separate interview, Mayor Lewis said if a citizen uses 3,500 gallons one month, they’d only be billed for 3,000 gallons and the additional 500 gallons would be added to the next month’s bill. So next month, the citizen would be billed for 4,000 gallons.

Lewis said he felt the change would help citizens better understand their bill.

“We thank it will make the billing process simpler and easier to understand,” Lewis said “We just think it’ll be an easier fix for the customer.”

In other business, commissioners voted 4-1 to amend the town’s charter to allow the mayor to have a four-year term.

Currently, the mayor’s term is a two-year term. Lewis said it was the only municipality in Nash County to have a two-year term for the Mayor.

The resolution approved last Monday night will request that a bill be introduced in the General Assembly to amend the town’s charter so the mayor’s term can be extended to a four-year term.

The decision would be effective following the next general election, which is set for November.

Commissioner Cherry Davis voted against the request.

Middlesex Commissioners will begin its budget preparations next week at a special budget work session.

Commissioners will meet at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 26 to begin budget discussions.

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