COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Joe Taylor manages 55 properties in the Columbia area. He says at least twice a week, he's on the phone with the City of Columbia's water department.
"Finally after an hour on this one issue, they told me, 'we'll just email you the paperwork we have on it,'" says Taylor, who owns Allrental Property Management.
He and one of his property's owners recently received a past due bill for storm water fees the city says they didn't pay for months.
"But no one's received a bill until now," says Taylor.
In response, Victoria Kramer from the Department of Utilities and Engineering sent an email disputing Taylor's claim.
"The property owner was sent monthly bills for storm water fees when appropriate to the address listed on file. The management company would not have received the bill; it would have gone to the owner's address on file. Our Customer Care staff has been in contact with a representative of the property management group and will continue to provide information to them related to the charges," says Kramer.
In addition to the most current bill, Taylor received two documents from the city he says don't prove past bills were sent.
"Several dates, several codes, but no real information on why we owe this large amount based on $6 a month stormwater fees," says Taylor.
While the city pointed to an ordinance stating storm fees are the owner's responsibility, Taylor says these pages don't prove they were ever billed.
Now Taylor's calling for more oversight.
"There needs to be someone who totally speaks for the City of Columbia Water Department. That not only that I can go to, but customers can take their grievances to," says Taylor.
But for now, he calls it a losing battle.
"It's been my experience with the City of Columbia Water Department. They'll end up winning. They always do," says Taylor.
For those with water bill questions, the City of Columbia is holding it's second after-hours d rop-in. It's scheduled for December 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Eau Claire Print Building at 3907 Ensor Avenue.
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