Despite revenue dip, Jackson's water billing issues improve - - Jackson, MS

Despite revenue dip, Jackson's water billing issues improve

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Last week, Jackson's reserve fund took a hit because of what the city called unforeseen circumstances. Now, revenue numbers from Jackson Public Works remain under scrutiny because of billing issues that continue to plague the Capital City.

On Monday, Public Works Director Kishia Powell said those billing issues are starting to stabilize.

"We are pretty much on an uptick as far as sales are concerned," said Powell.

Powell told city council members they're seeing light at the end of the tunnel with regard to the department's financial situation..

"For the period of time that folks weren't getting bills, we still had a number of people who had high bills because they were billed at one time for several billing periods," Powell said.

The flux in billing periods affects the revenue they've been seeing, Powell told the council.

Data shows the city's strongest month thus far this fiscal year was March, bringing in $4.8 million.

"But that's about $1.2 million away or short from our budgeted revenue numbers," Councilman Tyrone Hendrix said. "And that was our strongest month, right?"

Powell said the city billed $2.6 million for the first week of May, which Hendrix said is a bit misleading.

"That number is just what's been billed. It's not what's been collected," Hendrix said.

It could also be inaccurate, if the water bills are thousands higher than they're supposed to be.

Public Works estimates more than 6,000 people don't have active water accounts.

"The important thing is that everybody who's using the services is signed up as a customer and we don't have 4,000 people out there who are using water and not being billed for it," Councilman Ashby Foote said.

Some of them, council members caution, could be stealing water. 

Hendrix said they have bigger worries.

"What I'm fearful of is that we're making expenditures or spending money based on what's been budgeted, but it's nowhere close to what we're actually bringing in," said Hendrix.

Powell said about three-fourths of the city's water customers are now getting regular water bills.

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