Polisena: Effort to recoup water expenses ‘very successful’

JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The town of Johnston’s plan to collect money from water customers who owed thousands of dollars has been “very successful,” according to Mayor Joseph Polisena.

In February, the town sent out bills totaling more than $55,000 to 15 customers whose water bills had been underestimated for years. The bills ranged from $60 to nearly $10,000, leaving some residents stunned.

Polisena said all of the customers who were billed have agreed to go on payment plans to pay off their outstanding balances. If customers owed more than $1,000, the town is giving them two years to pay. If customers owed less than $1,000, the town is giving them one year to pay.

The customers will be charged at the rate that was in effect when the water was used.

In offering up an explanation, Polisena said the town is trying to clean up its billing because it’s planning to sell the water department, calling it time-consuming and costly.

“The town doesn’t belong in the water business,” the mayor added.

Polisena said Johnston will put the water department up for a Request for Proposal (RFP) in 30 to 60 days.

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