Pearland - Friendswood Edition | June 2020

July 2018

Here is a timeline on how the 60-day lapse began. Residents will not pay double for water usage nor were any bills missed. SOURCE: CITY OF PEARLAND / COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

July 2019

The city of Pearland announces this system has caused the city to be two months behind on collecting water bills, resulting in $6 million the city has yet to collect. February 2020

April 2020

The city will have collected the Early 2023 $ 6 million

The city of Pearland starts reading meters every 28 days but billing every 30.

For some payment cycles, this is the fi rst time the bills were o ffi cially 30 days behind the meter readings.

City Council passes a plan to read meters every 32 days while billing every 30.

“In an ideal world, things work as they are meant to all the time. In the next best world, there will be better awareness when there is an issue, and that is both on us and on the soft- ware,” Clay Pearson said. The report also stated the utility billing department is understa ff ed and overworked and there is low morale in the department. This is something Council Member Trent Perez plans to address at budget talks this summer. “We’ve actually tasked our sta ff to solicit a consultant to come and see what we’re missing,” Perez said. The consultant would be hired through a request for proposal that council is set to vote on in late June. Council members have also said this has resulted in a lack of trust. “We have to repair the broken

having people move out of the city will a ff ect the city’s ability to collect the money. Because this is something the city accounts for when collecting water bills regardless, it will not a ff ect the ability to collect the $6 million, Clay Pearson said at a meeting. Davis said he thinks council acted too quickly in passing the 32/30 bill- ing plan. He said he believes the city should have fi rst done an audit from an outside company on the utility bill- ing department to see how the city got into the situation in the fi rst place. “City Council is not holding sta ff ’s feet to the to the fi re,” Davis said. “It almost looks like City Council is taking part in the cover, and that’s a problem.” Council voted 5-2 to pass the 32/30 plan April 13, with Council Members

system but we also have to repair the broken trust,” Council Member Luke Orlando said. Some residents have mentioned wanting to pay o ff the bills now rather than over the next two years. “You give people a choice. Do you want to pay a higher rate, or do you want to pay it o ff now?” Pearland resi- dent Jimmy Davis said. To tell residents what they owe over the 60-day lapse, the city would have to close out the account, as it does when residents move. This would be too complicated to do for all residents, but it will be available by request this summer, Branson said at a meeting. City Council asked for residents to have the option to pay o ff the full amount when approving the 32/30 plan. Council members also asked if

Tony Carbone and Gary Moore voting against. Moore said he was in favor of the 32/30 plan, but he wanted an audit of the system done fi rst. Moore said he does not trust the system the city uses for water billing and is concerned the city may not even be billing correctly. “My reason had nothing to do with the plan,” Moore said. “To me, it’s like putting the cart before the horse. I don’t have any faith the system is working correctly, so I don’t want to tell you to pay back money you may not even owe.”

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