DeKalb begins mailing old water bills

Ellen Buettner and Bill Cox protest DeKalb County’s problem with high water bills outside the Maloof Auditorium last fall. MARK NIESSE / MARK.NIESSE@AJC.COM

DeKalb County's government is beginning to mail 8,000 water bills that were withheld until their accuracy could be verified.

DeKalb CEO Mike Thurmond announced that these bills, which will be sent next week, cover the months of January and February. Bills withheld from September through December are still under review.

"On behalf of your government, I apologize for any inconvenience and frustration you may have experienced due to failures in our water and sewer billing process," Thurmond wrote in a letter Tuesday to DeKalb water customers. "... Although the majority of our 194,000 accounts have not been affected, the issuance of large numbers of inaccurate water bills is embarrassing and unacceptable."

The county stopped sending bills as thousands of residents complained they were being overcharged, with some bills exceeding $1,000 or more.

Since September, the county has held back 37,000 bills that it couldn’t validate, creating a backlog that government employees are still sifting through.

Bills won’t be mailed until billing inaccuracies have been identified and corrected, Thurmond wrote in his letter.

Customers won’t be assessed late fees or other penalties for late payment of held bills, he said.

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