WEBBERS FALLS, Okla. — An attempt to manually enter by-the-gallon water bills may have led to several people in Webbers Falls receiving incorrect water bills, said Webbers Falls Water Department Manager Joy Standifird.

"Our computer software is set to calculate up to 2,000 gallons of water at a flat rate bill. Our guys went out and read people's meters, sat down with the meter books, and if (customers) had used under 1,500 gallons, we calculated on a by-the-gallon charge," Standifird said. "But we had to go in and change the bills by hand, and there were two or three hundred bills, so we might have missed some."

Typically, a Webbers Falls water bill for anything less than 2,000 gallons comes in at $50.50 a month, Standifird said — $27.50 for water, $11 for trash, and $12 for sewer services. The temporary move to by-the-gallon assessments was intended to reduce the bill in light of the town's temporary evacuation during the late May flooding of the Arkansas River. 

"We didn't think it was fair this time for everyone to receive the automatic bill. We're trying to reduce the water and the sewer since people weren't in their homes," Standifird said. "We're not reducing trash because of the cost of cleanup."

Another reason for odd totals on the water bill could be attributed to the period between the May meter reading, which was the second week of the month, and the May 24 evacuation of the town. 

"There was about a week, week and a half of usage between the last read and the flooding," Standifird said. "So people could have that past due, which was folded into their current bill."

Standifird said that anyone with any questions regarding their water bill should come to see her at the Webbers Falls Water Department, or call (918) 464-2280.

"People can call their water office, and we'll go over it," she said.


Oxendine writes for Muskogee Phoenix, a CNHI News Service publication.

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