Residents and businesses in Brighton will be paying less if they are unable to pay their water bill on time. In a 6-0 vote at the Nov. 20 City Council Meeting, city leaders voted to lower the late fees from $25 to $10 beginning January 1, 2019. Three council members were excused from the meeting, and were not part of the vote.
Starting in 2019, the city is reducing the initial late fee by 60% to bring it in line with what neighboring communities pay.
While presenting to City Council, Director of Urban and Public Policy Ryan Johnson said, “Late fees are generally meant to hopefully discourage people from allowing their bill to go late.” He went on to add, “It shouldn’t be thought of as a punitive things for folks who might already be living paycheck to paycheck and that is something that can be a compounding affect if we have a fee that is more than double what other communities are charging.”
This rate reduction falls in line with City Manager Philip Rodriguez’s 75 Day Plan that was released back in October. This plan was established to address the city’s top pressing issues with the goal of providing clarity, transparency and accountability to our community.
With this new late fee structure the fees will be as follows:
- $10 after 5 days
- $45 after 47 days (disconnection)
- $60 lien fees
Currently, the rate fee structure adds $25 if a customer does not pay their bill within five days of the due date. After 47 days with no payment, crews are sent to the address to shut off the water service. This adds $45 in fees to cover the cost of service to get the crews out to the address and discontinue service. If no payment is received following water being shut off then a $60 lien fee is added. Again, this price covers the man hours and court fees associated with this effort. This year to date, the City of Brighton has generated $254,450 from late fees but that number will drop to an estimated $111,032 with the new fees if next year’s trends match the data from this year.
One year ago, City Council voted to add a five-day grace period to the late fees allowing residents more time to get their bill paid before any fees were added.