DeKalb residents lead group seeking relief from high water bills

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DeKalb residents lead group seeking relief from high water bills

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Residents on the DeKalb Watershed Customer Service and Billing Advisory Board held their first meeting in Maloof Auditorium in Decatur on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. From left: Star McKenzie, Ann Brown, Jo Handy-Sewell, Carol Holloway, Mary-Pat Hector and Brenda Cornelius. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

There’s now a team of DeKalb residents working with the county correct high and inaccurate water bills.

The DeKalb Watershed Customer Service and Billing Advisory Board, a group of residents appointed by government officials, got to work at its first meeting Thursday.

The board is tasked with representing the community and working with the government to review billing errors, improve customer service and suggest solutions.

Residents across DeKalb are complaining about extreme water bills that don’t match their usage, a problem that could take years to fix.

Jo Handy-Sewell, whom the board elected as its chairwoman, said she wants to make sure water billing customers “don’t get the runaround” when they dispute high bills.

“I’m hoping that even when your water bill problem hasn’t been solved, you can get a sense it’s being worked on equitably, fairly and in a timely manner,” she said.

The board will gather information about water billing issues and then provide feedback to county officials, acting as a liaison between aggrieved residents and their government.

The DeKalb Board of Commissioners created the board in March in response to billing inaccuracies.

Here are the board’s members and the officials who appointed them:

  • Jo Handy-Sewell, chairwoman (CEO Mike Thurmond)
  • Mary Pat-Hector, vice chairwoman (Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson)
  • Gaye Stathis (Commissioner Nancy Jester)
  • Star McKenzie (Commissioner Jeff Rader)
  • Ann Brown (Commissioner Larry Johnson)
  • Carol Holloway (Commissioner Steve Bradshaw)
  • Shamsh Jaffer (Commissioner Kathie Gannon)
  • Brenda Cornelius (Commissioner Greg Adams)

The DeKalb Municipal Association hasn’t made its appointment to the board.

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