Utility billing changes in Garrett causes confusion

This is the letter residents in Garrett received regarding a change in utility billing.

GARRETT, Ind. (WANE)  A change in utility billing is causing a lot of concern and raising questions in Garrett.

“I got a letter from city utilities saying that they were running two months behind but I’ve lived in town for 10 years now and I’ve never not paid every month,” Garrett resident Tim Stafford said. “They never said what months we didn’t pay or why we didn’t pay.”

Garrett Clerk Treasurer Marcie Conkle said there’s no error and the city is just changing it’s billing cycles. For example, when someone gets a utilities bill in April the bill is actually for their usage in February. Conkle said billing has been two months out for years and they’re working to bring it up to date. To do that the city is sending out bills for both April and May in June.

“It is not because they are behind in payment or there was a billing error it’s just to catch the billing up from years and years of being billed two months delayed,’ Conkle said.

The billing has been two months out since the days employees had to visit each home to log usage, but new technology lets them get usage data quicker. With the new billing cycle the bill customers get, say in July, will be for June’s usage. However, Stafford said the lump sum in June to do that will be a lot of money.

“The utilities run an average of about $150 a month so that’s an extra $300 a month,” Stafford said.

Conkle said she understands the hardship that can bring, so they are being flexible and will not fine anyone for late payments.

“We will allow adequate time,” Conkle said. “I know the bills are going to say that it’s due on June 16 but if it’s not paid by June 16th there is no penalties.”

City officials say they understand this can be confusing and if you have any questions you are encouraged to call the Utility Office at 260-357-5211 or 260-357-4400.