Councilmember questions fairness of water billing fee

By Catherine Cruz
Published On: Jun 24 2013 07:00:00 PM HST

The board of water supply is raking in the fees for improvements, but some aren't too happy about it.

HONOLULU -

Sam Miyasato pays his bill like clockwork, but he said it doesn't mean he likes it.

The Kalihi resident doesn't like the new monthly billing system or the extra $7.50 billing charge he is shelling out to help pay for upgrades to an aging system.

But Miyasato is perplexed over why his bill dropped dramatically, then soared the next month. What's up with that, he asks.

"When they send me one so low and the next so high, I question how accurate it is," said Miyasato.

At a Board of Water Supply meeting on Monday, members took the city's chief engineer to task. Trying to make sure people understand what's happening with their bills.

And this week, the city council takes up a resolution calling for the Board Water Supply's to reexamine its billing charge.

Councilman Joey Manahan wonders whether single family users are paying more than their fair share, dishing out a flat fee of $7.50 every month which he says is the same billing fee for larger users.

"This also applies to commercial properties, hotels, or buildings which could have hundreds of users. I was questioning the fairness of that," said Manahan.

Manahan says with 10 percent rate hikes expected every year over the next three years, he just wants to make sure the little guy isn't carrying the load.

"The thing that triggered it for me is that the neighbor islands charge by the size of your water main. Here on Oahu, we are charging you regardless of the size the same flat rate," said Manahan.

Manahan said he asked the Board of Water Supply the same questions six months ago and is still waiting for an answer.

Sam Miyasato has a pretty simple take on his bills.

"If I use it I am willing to pay for it. I just hope that overall I am being billed fairly," Miyasato said.

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