McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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February 9, 2011

City of McAlester makes changes to water billing

McALESTER — The City of McAlester has made some changes in regards to billing for city water usage in the wake of the winter storm which hit the area last week.

It’s not yet known how this week’s weather will affect the billing cycle.

The  city has also taken a position on requests for adjustments or rebates on garbage pickup rates since the winter storm interrupted trash pickups last week. Their requests have been denied.

City Chief Financial Officer Gayla Duke issued a statement saying that with last week’s snowfall and extreme weather conditions, the city’s meter readers were not able to personally read all the water meters on their regular routes.

As a result, the affected utility customers’ bills will be estimated or averaged for the water/sewage usage, Duke said in the statement.

Estimates are based upon past usage and calculated by the  city’s billing system, according to Duke.

“Customers whose meters normally would have been read last week will begin receiving statements in the middle of next week,” Duke said.

The statements will indicate whether the reading is an actual reading personally by a meter reader or whether it is  estimated — with the estimated statements identified with an “E” alongside the readings.

Asked who many of the water meter readings would be estimated, Duke estimated that from 1,000 to 1,200 water customers would have their bills estimated, although she expected to have more specific information next week.

“Next month the customers whose meter readings are estimated will be read and actual usage recorded and therefore any over or under billings will be adjusted accordingly,” Duke said in the statement.

Duke also said that due to the bad weather, bills which were originally due on Feb. 5 have been extended until this Friday, Feb. 11.

Also, Duke said there have been several calls made to city Hall regarding the disrupted garbage pickup schedule in the city of McAlester, with the callers requesting rebates.

“Although these was no garbage service for four days, the city through our contracted provider, will still be processing the same amount of refuse in total and there will be no adjustments to the rates,” Duke said.

“The trash from last week will be picked up along with the trash from this week,” she said.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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