New bills from Johnson County Wastewater are rolling out, with the potential to confuse some customers.
To their credit, county officials are trying to get the word out and tamp down concerns from residential and commercial customers who might think they are overpaying for their wastewater service.
As Johnson County Commission Chairman Ed Eilert pointed out in an interview, Johnson Countians don’t like surprises. But they also are willing to pay for high-quality services when the government provides them.
Eilert and others say that’s exactly what Johnson County Wastewater wants to do with its new bills.
Specifically, the county government decided last year to place the capital charge for the wastewater division on residential bills starting this year. That fee finances expansion of treatment plants and other construction projects.
As a result, the charge was removed from the annual property tax bill as of last fall.
The change is designed to be seamless: The 2012 property tax bill went down by a bit but the wastewater bills of 2013 will go up.
Residential customers will pay the capital charge in six equal installments on the bills they receive, once every two months.
Commercial customers will be billed once a month, for a total of 12 equal installments.
Residents should have seen a decrease in their annual property tax bill late last fall. However, many might not have noticed, especially if the bill was paid through a mortgage company.
But residents likely will notice their wastewater bills are going up a bit this year, with the addition of the capital charge.
Including the charge on a bill allows customers to see the total cost for all wastewater services. It is a good idea.