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Lodi City Council to hold meeting after complaints about utility due dates

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Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 5:52 am, Tue Dec 13, 2011.

Since the city of Lodi changed the due dates for utility bills three months ago, residents have contacted city staff more than 1,000 times.

The Lodi City Council will discuss whether to keep the change at their shirtsleeve meeting at 7 a.m. today.

In September, the city changed its bills from a specific due date to "due upon receipt," which prompted residents to complain to city staff and write letters to the editor to the News-Sentinel.

The city made the change when Deputy City Manager Jordan Ayers realized that Lodi was not in compliance with a 1991 ordinance on when bills were due. He was reviewing city code for another issue, he said

Bills are "due and payable upon receipt thereof, at the finance department, City Hall, Lodi, California," the 1991 ordinance reads.

Under the new "due upon receipt" bills, the ordinance says they become delinquent 20 days after the post-mark.

Before bills were due 21 days after the billing date, so the time frame has not significantly changed, Ayers said.

One of the goals is for the city to save money on delinquent bills, he said. The city loses about $500,000 a year from people not paying their utility bills.

By telling residents that they have to pay as soon as they get the bill, the hope is that people will pay it right away rather than waiting for a later date, Ayers said.

The council will discuss potential changes to the ordinance as well as billing processes.

One of the suggestions is to reduce the timeline from the initial billing to when the city terminates the services as a way to reduce the volume of bad debt accounts sent to collectors.

The meeting will be at 7 a.m. today in Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St., Lodi.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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  • roy bitz posted at 9:45 pm on Tue, Dec 13, 2011.

    roy bitz Posts: 489

    The article says the city loses about a half million dollars a year because some folks don't pay their electric bills. Our highly compensated deputy city manager seems to be saying a portion of this loss could be recovered by printing "due upon receipt" on the billing statements.
    I suppose late payment penalty income would increase but I cannot see how this silly little word game will change the fact that there are deadbeats that skip out on their bills.
    Mayor Johnson stated "get out of your Barcalounger"--- tell us what you want---yet even after a thousand inquries and all the fuss he and the council need to meet again on this idiotic issue.

  • Jackson Scott posted at 3:34 pm on Tue, Dec 13, 2011.

    Jackson Scott Posts: 382

    I read this article as I ate lunch today and got a huge laugh. The City of Lodi is clueless. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. I receive both an e-bill and a old fashioned paper statement & bill. The paper bill no longer states a due date, but the e-bill still does. The due date is however 20 days from the day the e-bill was sent. Seriously, is it so hard to put a date, 20 days out, the day the statement is printed? Mountains out of mole hills. How much time was wasted on this topic? I agree, LOWER my rates!

  • Jerry Bransom posted at 9:37 am on Tue, Dec 13, 2011.

    Jerry Bransom Posts: 363

    Government has changed from a service that serves the people to people who serve the government. HC.. this type of government needs gun fights & stabbings to keep the momentum. Government employees no longer look for ways to cut costs beyond window dressing. They are now all about keeping the money rolling in so it can be doled out to a few at the top of the food chain. So keep quiet or you may get pepper sprayed for speaking your mind.

  • H C Syslo posted at 9:00 am on Tue, Dec 13, 2011.

    H C Syslo Posts: 5

    I do understand that the due dates are confusing, but what about the gun fights, stabbings, and shootings lately? Shouldn't we have a Council Meeting for that?

  • Jay Samone posted at 7:57 am on Tue, Dec 13, 2011.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    The City Council is going to hold a meeting about due dates, but yet citizens have complained and wrote more letters to the editors over the utility rates. I don't get it. Why don't they address the gauging of Lodi citizens instead of a stupid due date?????



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