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Letter to the editor: Tell city dates you will be gone to avoid being charged

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I recently returned from an extended vacation and upon opening my mail, I discovered the usual water bills. I had dutifully turned off the main water valve in my basement before leaving to prevent any unwanted problems.

Upon informing the folks at City Hall that perhaps my water bill was a bit optimistic and that I really had not used any water, sewer or garbage because of a two-month sabbatical, I was informed that I would not be charged for water only if I told them the dates I was leaving before I left.

While the garbage pickup could be deducted — only if the water usage was zero — the meter reading dates are not on calendar months. So if I was out of state in February (I was), my meter was read on Jan. 24 and again on Feb. 26 so indeed I had a small reading and was required to pay for garbage also.

My next reading was zero but I still had to pay for water and sewage even though my house was not occupied.

The lady at the water department was very pleasant and insisted that rules are rules. So … if you decide to get away from some harsh winter weather and assume you do not have the usual utility bills, please make sure in advance you call the city and get permission to leave.

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