Overdue water bills will now be assessed late fees

Above: A water tank on Tara Road

If you don’t pay your water bill on time, it’s now going to cost you. Selectmen last week unanimously voted to approve an annual fee for overdue water bills.

It’s a move intended to encourage residents to pay their bills on time. As of last month 15% of all water accounts were past due Finance Director Brian Ballantine told selectmen. The past due balances amount to more than $88K.

A $20 demand payment is already applied to overdue real estate, personal property, and excise tax bills. The overdue payment for water bills will be 10% of the balance, which Ballantine estimates will bring in up to an additional $8K in revenue annually.

Selectman Bill Boland suggested that some accounts may be overdue not because residents can’t pay, but because they choose not to.

Apparently, if you don’t pay your water bill, it gets transferred to your property tax bill, and that means when you write off your property tax bill, you get to write off the water bill along with it.

“Do you think any of this is intentional,” Boland asked Ballantine about the overdue accounts.

“Absolutely,” Ballantine replied.

Selectman John Rooney suggested sending a letter to residents with overdue accounts to give them a chance to pay up before the fee is imposed.

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