LEXINGTON, Ky. - Starting next month, Lexington residents can expect a new bill in the mail. Around 115,000 customers will start receiving a LEXserv bill to pay for three city fees: water quality, sanitary sewer, and landfill.
For years Lexington government paid Kentucky American Water to calculate and collect those fees as part customers' monthly water bills, but KAW spokeswoman Susan Lancho says the company is moving on.
“Really billing services are not our core business. And just like any other business, we’re trying to do more with less, be more efficient.”
The decision frustrated city officials, who had to scramble to find another billing provider.
“It’s not in our skill set to do this sort of billing. It was in Kentucky American’s. They chose to abandon us on this service, so we had to go outside to find someone to do it,” says Mayor Jim Gray.
Billing for the three fees will now be handled by another utility, Cincinnati Water Works. Data on water usage used to calculate the fees will still be provided by Kentucky American.
Lexington paid Kentucky American $1.6 million dollars a year for the service and will pay an additional $700,000 dollars annually for the new system. Gray says the city will absorb that cost and the fees will remain the same for taxpayers. Customers who don’t pay on time will face additional fees and penalties.
“Where there is very egregious non-payment, we do have the right to sever water service until the bills are paid,” says city revenue director Bill O'Mara.
The water quality, sanitary sewer, and landfill fees generate around $65 million a year for Lexington to maintain and upgrade infrastructure.
Beginning in September residents can expect to see the new LEXserv bill about a week after they normally receive their water bill.