The town of Webster Water & Sewer Departments have announced they will begin to implement their water shut-off policy in an effort to recover $400,000 in outstanding bills.
According to a post on the town’s website, the policy was created in 2014 and approved by the Board of Selectmen to help the departments recover outstanding water and sewer bills. The policy was updated this morth by the Water Sewer Commission.
THE LAKE 940 has learned if an account has a past due balance of greater than 120 days for nonpayment of water and/or sewer fees, they will be sent an overdue balance notice letter by certified mail informing the customer that they must make immediate arrangements to pay the balance due to avoid having the water service shut off. The customer will have 30 days to contact town hall to make a payment.
If no payment has been made, notices will be hung on doors both seven days and two days before the termination date. Department personnel will then terminate water services at the location if arrangements for payment are not made.
Water Sewer Commissioner Earl Gabor said an overdue balance notice letter will be sent via normal US Postal Service prior to the certified letter in an effort to get customers to pay their remaining balances.
Town Administrator Doug Willardson says there are 175 accounts that owe more than $500, with 39 of those accounts owing more than $1,000 in past due bills. The water and sewer department’s budgets are funded through their respective enterprise accounts and the lack of revenue impacts their budgets.
Residents will have the ability to request an appeal if there is a good-faith effort made to pay the balance if a “legitimate hardship” can be proven.
Once water service is terminated, a notice will be sent to the Webster Board of Health informing them of the shut-off date, because lack of potable water constitutes a violation of the Massachusetts state sanitary housing code regulation.
Commissioner Gabor said the goal of the policy is to have customers pay their bills. “Hopefully the notification letters will spur people to get their accounts into good standing. We would prefer not to have to turn off people’s water.”
The water department can be reached by calling (508) 943-3861 or clicking here.