Angry citizens upset about water cutoffs

Citizens of Bowman stood before Mayor Mark Berryman and council members during a meeting Monday night to address issues with their water bills.

Tommy James of Herndon Circle alleged that his water bill was cut off nine days after the payment was due, which is not in compliance with the city’s 30 days late policy of disconnection.

“To me and whoever else that affects, that is wrong,” said James. “Now I was fortunate enough to pay for both months … and the $30 reconnection fee. But there are some people not so fortunate.”

James told Berryman that he should “take care of the people who put you in this seat.”

John Decker of Winston Drive in Bowman also says that his water was cut off before it was 30 days late.

Decker referenced the Georgia Consumer Protection Service website, which states that utilities cannot be cut off until after the bill is 45 days late and must require proper notification that utilities are going to be cut off.

“Your seven days does not conform,” Decker told the council. “There’s some misunderstanding on these days.”

“We have to run a business here,” said Councilwoman Rachel Felice.

After an uproar from both the council and community members in attendance, Bowman citizen Jennifer Sexton told Felice, “This is not a business, this is a place that we live … and I pay my bills … But you need to remember we are citizens, not customers. You can’t wave goodbye to us at the door.  We are still here and we vote.”

“I will look at all this information, I will look at what we’re doing, and at next month’s meeting I will let council know … we will bring this up next month to make sure what we’re doing is totally by the law,” Berryman assured Decker.

Annie Cobb of Adams Circle told the council that every month her water bill goes up, despite having checked for leaks and finding none.

“I got a problem,” she told the council. “I don’t understand how after 20-something years my bill jumped.”

“I live on Adams Circle, too and my bill went up. I’m not there five days a week,” Felice told Cobb. 

“You all can shake your heads but it’s inflation,” Felice announced. Berryman then commented that the rates haven’t gone up.

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