ALPENA - The City of Alpena's policy calls for a 100 percent "true-up" charge for water meter readings that differ from the remotes on the outside of homes. During its last meeting, the council approved a variance to the policy, which would limit the charges to $400 to soften the economic blow to those who could have used water possibly costing into the thousands.
After some public concern was expressed to Alpena Municipal Council, the council voted to lower the cap on the true-up charges even further to $100, which can be paid in four increments of $25 each.
Councilman Mike Nunneley said the $400 amount was recommended by staff, and the normal way of operation was the consumer pays for what he consumes. He said because of the unusual circumstances of the current situation, he thinks lowering the true-up was reasonable.
"The customer has always been asked to pay for what they actually used, but during the meter installation process, United Water is going to be in their homes and we are going to look at the meter and compare it to what they have been charged, and they could have been assessed a very large amount for the difference," Nunneley said. "There was considerable concern in the community, so it got brought back to the council and we changed it. I'm not totally comfortable people have received water they didn't pay for, but now we are going to have new meters which will be 99 percent accurate over the next 20 years."
Mayor Matt Waligora said he understands some people will have charges higher than normal, but he said he isn't comfortable changing policy, especially when customers are asked to check the readings on the outside remotes and the actual meter inside.
In other business:
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.