It All Adds Up

When a Belpre apartment complex changed ownership, the new owners decided to assume the monthly sanitation costs for its residents. But one of the residents recently discovered the city of Belpre was still billing those residents indivdually for the same service.

"Within the last year, the owner has decided," noted Leslie Pittenger, Belpre City Auditor, "so we have to decide when the owners took over paying and when the residents stopped paying."

The city has decided to give those tenants a monthly credit on their utility bills, which include trash hauling and water service. But two residents say that, instead of a monthly credit, they should get a lump sum payment.

"When I was short on a utlity bill, they weren't willing to work with me," Tammy Gunderman says. "I couldn't pay partial payment, if I didn't have full payment, they shut me off.

Amy Ift added: " And they only give you a week and a half, and then it's...end of story."

"If they're not willing to work with us," Gunderman added, "I'm not willing to work with them on their error."

Pittenger says the reason the city is moving slowly is that it has to track down everyone who has lived in the complex since the billing change went into effect.

"It's an apartment complex people do move in and out of. That's the way it is with rentals. We want to make sure they've left us a forwarding address."

Countered Gunderman: ( Amy's) been here three years, I've been here almost two years."

"There are a number of us who have been here awhile," Ift said.

"And that $13.77 adds up."

Gunderman has figured that the city owes her more than $300.

Pittenger says the city is no longer charging the monthly fee to the complex's residents.


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