Residents of Seekonk, Massachusetts have recently seen a sharp increase in their water bills. Some have seen an increase of as much as a 50% increase from the previous quarter. Many think the increase is due to the illegal use of water during the summer water ban. In actuality, the town has lost its license for the software used to maintain the customer invoices and town employees have resorted to using handheld calculators to determine invoice totals. Henry Bardstrom of the Seekonk Water Department said “My fingers are just too large for the calculator. I find myself punching in wrong numbers all the time. I try and correct as many as I can, but there are going to be some casualties”.
The town has plans to raise water rates to compensate for the lost software licenses and will be implementing a new system in the near future. The town has also decided to issue all residents with a free “water bill” calculator so they can do their own calculations in hopes of seeing what they should really owe. The water bill calculator will not override incorrect invoices, rather it will provide comfort to residents knowing they were in fact, right all along.
This hot-button topic is causing residents of Seekonk to demand refunds. Many residents are unhappy with the lack of transparency and failure to communicate with the taxpayers. Although refunds are not likely, the town still understands the frustration. It is not known how long it will take the town to fix this problem, but they are hoping by the end of the year it will all be taken care of.