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Town releases top delinquents on water, sewer bills

April 18, 2011
SOUTHBRIDGE — If you want to dance, you have to pay the fiddler.

The town has compiled a list of the most delinquent businesses and other property owners for their water and sewer bills.

"One of the things this year that has come to my attention was, 'What can we do for a collection rate?'" said Town Manager Christopher Clark. "If we send out 4,200 bills to all of the customers in town and for every 100 bills, about 80 percent of them pay them on time. Four percent of people pay them within two weeks of it being due. It was brought to my attention and I was asked how efficient was it and how can we do better?"

When Clark was at a similar job in a different town, the town's collection rate was nearly 99 percent. He credits that efficiency on the town being extremely small and the town's quick resolve to shut off delinquent's water supply.

"There was no debate, no anything, just a grace period of say, two weeks and then it was just shut off," he said. "Guess what? People paid. The reason the rate was so high was because of their very aggressive shut off campaign. When I started here in 2008, I was told they didn't do a lot of shut off work. I was told the delinquency rate had grown tremendously in magnitude. Obviously, in 2007 and 2008, the economy had really tanked, so people were struggling more. If you have a fair amount of people that are behind, you have to spend a lot of time going out and physically shutting off water, plus they have to do their regular job."

For more information, and to read the full list, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

Janines Frostee
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