Lost revenue and skyrocketing water bills, the city of Jackson water meter crisis is now pointing to people and employees tampering or damaging their meters.
This makes it difficult to bill people properly as people attempt to cheat out of paying their water bills.
Well no matter who was involved this scandal can affect every water customer in the city because the Department of Public Works emphasized Jackson is highly dependent on revenue from water bills and people cheating them could have been going on for years.
In recent years Jackson made a switch to a brand new water meter system for more accurate and faster readings, but in some ways the investment backfired.
“We have found that some of our water customers have been purposefully taking steps to prevent us from remotely monitoring water consumption,” Public Works Director Bob Miller said. “They did this by cutting the wires in their water meters damaging or destroying the meters.”
Once the meter is busted or cut, the city is unable to read how much water a customer is using accurately and the offenders avoid paying their bills. An illegal act worth up to 90 days in prison or a hefty fine of up to $1,000.
“We have evidence that I will be preparing into a sworn affidavit taken to the police, and then taken to municipal court for prosecution,” Miller continued.
But the thievery doesn’t stop there. The Public Works Department also believes they have evidence city employees with the water and sewer department may have also been involved in cheating the water bill system.
“Some of it was rumors that had been going on for years,” Miller told us. “Some of it had been customer complaints; some of it has been informal reports from employees.”
This investigation may even go as far as city water employees showing customers how to cheat the billing system in exchange for bribes.
“We believe that some employees were providing that information just as information that they might share and others that we believe may have been taking cash payments for that,” Miller said.
In the future public director bob miller is using new tactics to train his employees to track anyone who messes with their meter and in better securing the system.
The investigation continues with the public works legal team interviewing the entire water and sewer department. As well as affected customers for evidence.