• Thursday, July 4, 2013

Q. How did this get approved: “Introducing the new Mount Pleasant Waterworks bill. Commissioners approved date changes to charges in June 2012?

-Current Charges Due Date 6/11/2013

-Current Balance $0.00

-Current Charges $80.24

-If received on or after 6/12/2013 $85.24

-If received on or after 6/18/2013 $105.24

-If received on or after 7/4/2013 $160.24”

Margaret Bozic, Mount Pleasant

A. “The late charges are not new and have been in practice for years. The only change in the collections process was the date when the $20 charge is assessed to unpaid accounts. This change allows Mount Pleasant Waterworks to apply this charge before the next month’s bill is processed. Otherwise the customer would receive a bill, come in to pay the late bill and have the charge applied manually upon collection. We wanted to clearly communicate prior to that point that a late charge is due. In many cases late-paying customers would incur two charges within one week ($20 and $55) without ever seeing them on a bill. This situation created poor relations.

To better communicate with customers about the potential delinquent charges we thought it best to show it right on the bill. No surprises. As a utility we want to help our customers through the collections process and better communicate the charges they will incur.

The cost of providing call center personnel and account management staff is paid for through the delinquent charges. We feel it is fair for the customers that pay late satisfy those cost instead of the customers who pay on time. The changes to the dates the fees were to be applied was approved a year ago, and implemented with our new bill design so that all charges and dates would be clearly communicated to our customers. The new bill design was discussed at four public meetings prior to implementation.

Since releasing our new bill, MPW has received comments from our customers who both agree and disagree with this process. For those customers who pay late repeatedly, these fees are not new.

Customers who always paid on time had never seen the effect of late payment penalties because they always paid on time. Some customers expressed concern for customers who have difficulty paying. We share that concern and encourage those customers to pay on time so as to not have to pay any additional penalties.

For help in establishing one of our Easy Pay methods to avoid paying a penalty, contact our Customer Services Department.” Clay Duffie, Mount Pleasant Waterworks Director

Q. What is the construction timetable for the new roundabout on Needlerush and Longpoint Road? - Lisa Schnipke, Mount Pleasant

A. Underground utility work has begin there and construction of the actual round-about is scheduled for completion in the September time-frame, according to Town of Mount Pleasant Transportation engineer Paul Lykins. The bulk of the work will be done by the time school starts in August.

The $1 million project is being done by Gulf Stream Construction. Most of the work will be done at night because of South Carolina Department of Transportation lane closure restrictions. The completed round-about will feature a single lane through for east-bound traffic (heading toward Boone Hall Plantation).

Engineers with the town analyzed both a signalized intersection and a round-about. The round-about design was chosen based on public comment. That was the favored design approved by town council.

Updates will be available throughout the construction process. Questions can be directed to J. E. (Ed) Barbee, CPPB, road construction information officer, at 843-640-2422.

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