Holland, MI - Delinquent BPW bills delay late fees

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Late fees for delinquent bills will begin on Sept. 1 for Holland Board of Public Works customers who don't have their bills paid up by then, under a plan approved Monday by the utility's board of directors.

The board approved waiving the late fees through August, continuing the fallout from the installation of a new billing system in January. The recommendation must be approved by the Holland City Council before taking effect.

The BPW has been caught up with its billing since June 8, returning the billing cycle to normal, but the utility says customers still need time to adjust.

BPW General Manager Tim Morawski said starting in July, customers will be notified about the return of the late fees, "so that everybody has at least one cycle of notice" before the penalty kicks back in.

"Even though we're caught up, there's a little bit of a crunch," Morawski said.

City Manager Soren Wolff said giving customers warning before the late fees are reinstated is a good plan.

"I'm sure there are now people who have gotten themselves behind and are now going to be trying to get caught up in the next month or six weeks," he said.

The BPW bought a new billing system in December 1997 with the intent of having it online by the end of 1999, but the number of utilities buying new systems in a wave of pre-millennium tension overwhelmed the software company, causing a series of delays.

The changeover began in January, but the system wasn't running smoothly until March.

By then, several billing cycles had been missed. To make up for it, the BPW began issuing bills frequently to catch up, although late fees were waived until the billing was up-to-date.


-- Doris (reaper1@mindspring.com), June 27, 2000

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