Concerned Citizens of La Vergne, Tennessee - a group formed in response to the city's increasing the water and sewer rates - believes extensive debt write-offs forced a water bill hike, the Daily News Journal reports.
In total, water bills were raised by 40 percent and sewer bills by 60 percent as a result of the more than $600,000 of debt owned to the La Vergne water department which was accrued between 2005 and 2011. Approximately $100,000 in water bills are turned over to debt collection
firms annually, and there are an average of 100 to 150 shut-offs per month, notes finance director Phillis Rogers. The city countered that it has certain limitations when it comes to collecting debt. "The city actually goes to great lengths to collect this money, but where we have to stop is with litigation," spokeswoman Kathy Tyson told the media outlet. "To pursue it costs more in legal fees and garnishments than the actual amount owed." Concerned Citizens noted in a release in 2011, more than $117,000 in uncollected debt has been written off this year, the news source reported in a separate article.