May 17, 2006
about the City of Monticello Utility Bills
Watchdog Group frequently hears complaints about high utility
bills from the City of Monticello residents. There has been
some indication that not all monthly bills are being paid
on a timely basis. This raises several questions.
percentage of the City’s utility bills are delinquent?
dollar figure of the City’s utility bills are past due?
percentage of the past due bills are over 60 days old?
The City must
pay its cost of the utilities whether customers pay on timeor
not. How much does the City pay each month for gas and electric
purchases? Who do they pay? Do they pay MEAG for both of
What is the
total amount of the delinquent accounts subject to payment
arrangements? Several people have said that they can’t pay
their bills and that the City is allowing them to pay $50
a month on the bill. If the monthly bill is over $50 a month,
how can they ever catch up?
are Monticello’s utilities so much higher than other area
Cities’ utility bills?
Talk with anyone out of Monticello and tell them what your
utility bill was last month and they think you’re kidding.
When you tell them you’re not kidding, the usual reply is,
“How can anyone afford that much for utilities?”
Do the city
council members and the Mayor receive bills as high as the
“regular” citizen’s bills? It makes one wonder. If their
bills were approaching $600, $800, and $1000 per month and
more, the problem would be probably be looked at more closely.
Citizens questioning their bills now get little more than
"That’s just how it is. Pay up!"
The past few
City audits have indicated that the City raises utility
rates as money is needed for other projects. Projects that
come to mind are the Get Ahead House and Funderburg Park.
There seems to be no process
or standard policy for raising utility rates. The policy
seems to be guided by how much money the City needs to balance
Who can the
citizens of Monticello turn to for relief? The PSC says
they have no control over the rates. Citizens themselves
shoulddemand an audit of the utilities—revenue, expenses,
billings and payments; and anything else that affects the
rates in Monticello. Citizen pressure and action can cause
change! Without citizen payments, the revenue stream to
the City would dry up.
The City Council
should have some answers and some solutions after months
of complaints. They should know how much money is coming
in and where it’s going. They should be able to give an
explanation to each and every person that asks about their
utility bill. It will be up to the citizens to make the
Council and Mayor accountable to them.
As Thomas Jefferson
said, "When things get so far gone as to attract their
notice, the citizens, when well informed, can be relied
upon to set them right." NOW is that time!
** To keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed
as to where and how their tax dollars are being spent.
** To keep the taxpayers abreast of local policies and laws
being discussed and enacted.
** We advocate more open government, less government spending,
and lower property taxes.