Utilities plight of senior center reviewed by city, county officials

Commission discusses senior center options

Posted 9/2/18

The revelation that a billing error has resulted in a $5,000 bill for water and sewer service at the Bradley County Senior Activity Center drew an emotional reaction from one county commissioner last week. 

This item is available in full to subscribers

Utilities plight of senior center reviewed by city, county officials

Commission discusses senior center options

Posted

The revelation that a billing error has resulted in a $5,000 bill for water and sewer service at the Bradley County Senior Activity Center drew an emotional reaction from one county commissioner last week. 

During Monday’s Bradley County Commission work session, Commissioner Howard Thompson introduced a letter from Cleveland Community Services Agency Executive Director Demetrius Ramsey, who was requesting help to pay the bill.

According to the letter, CU officials discovered that water and sewer service was incorrectly billed for inside-city rates at the senior center on Urbane Road. The water meter, as well as the building, is located in the county. CU then billed the agency $5,065.58 — a bill the agency says it cannot pay.

“I cried today when I read this,” Thompson said, adding he is “disgusted” by the situation he believes will adversely affect local residents who use the senior center’s services. “This is terrible.”

According to Ramsey’s letter, CU is seeking payment of the $5,065.58 bill and then will begin billing the senior center at the higher outside-city rate. Ramsey’s letter also proposed a solution whereby the city would annex the agency’s facility, so seniors can continue benefitting from services offered by the agency. 

Thompson is chairman of the Community Services committee and asked why CU couldn’t forgive, or waive, the bill. He noted the senior center is on a parcel of land alongside Bradley County Recreational Park, which is in the county, and the Cleveland Family YMCA, which is in the city.

And although at a meeting earlier in the day, the Cleveland City Council passed a resolution that the County Commission “review and take action as requested in [Ramsey’s] letter,” commissioners balked at seeking to have the senior center annexed into the city.

“I am not an advocate of annexing anything into the city of Cleveland,” Thompson said, adding he would like to have a letter sent to Cleveland Utilities and the city of Cleveland requesting  the $5,000 bill be waived.

Commission Chairman Jeff Yarber said he would like to know the difference in the inside-city rate and the outside-city rate.

“I will be patient and assume it’s an oversight” and Cleveland Utilities “will take care of it” when requested, Yarber said.

Commissioner Charlotte Peak said she wants to give CU the benefit of the doubt in this situation. “I don’t understand the reason for requesting annexation,” she said.

“I see no reason to have it annexed,” Commissioner Thomas Crye said, adding he doesn’t agree for county residents to pay a higher rate than city residents. “I don’t see how they can justify what they’re doing.”

Commissioner Milan Blake said he got his Cleveland Utilities bill earlier that day and remarked CU has a “round up” program where customers can opt to round up their bill to the next dollar. He said if CU can’t forgive the senior center bill, maybe the round up fee could be used to pay for it, noting the senior center is “a very worthy cause.”

Commissioners took no action on the issue, but said they want more information.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

X

Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE

Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE

We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.

If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.

Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE