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Imitation, not always a form of flattery

City Hall Corner

By Mike Womack, Cedar Springs City Manager

City Hall was recently approached by a citizen, who lives in a mobile home park, about their water being shutoff by someone claiming to be the City’s public works contractor.  This surprised us at City Hall since the City does not use a public works contractor and the Department of Public Works (DPW) never shuts off water at any home in the mobile home parks. The citizen then provided City Hall with a copy of their water bill that they thought came from the City, it was not a City water bill, though it looked like an official City water bill, using the same colors, size and general format.

The City does not send water bills to any person or home in the mobile home parks and the City does not send water bills to tenants living in apartments or other multi-tenant homes.  At each of these locations, the City sends one water bill to the landlord and the landlord handles it from there.  Now, there are some rentals in the City where the monthly rent covers the utility payments and other rentals where there is an additional charge for the actual cost of utilities, including water and sewer. However, there are also rentals in the City where the water bill rates, late-charges, extra fees and more are entirely set by the landlord and passed on to the tenants.  Those water bills may or may not be based upon actual water used by the tenant or it might be based on some other methodology or no methodology at all by the landlord, which should be spelled out in the landlord-tenant lease agreement for the property.  Sometimes that bill is significantly higher than what the City charges the landlord for the water and sewer. The water bills sent to the tenants of apartments, mobiles homes in parks or other multi-tenant housing does not come from the City, that bill comes from the landlord.  Anyone who says otherwise just isn’t telling the truth.   City water bills say “City of Cedar Springs” on it in multiple places. On the front it has the City’s 66 S. Main Street PO Box 310 mailing address and, on the back, it has City Hall’s phone number of 616-696-1330.

Also, Cedar Springs is fiercely proud of our Department of Public Works and its employees.  The DPW plows snow at all hours of the day, keeps the water and sewers operating safely and they install and fix a myriad of other things in the City. It is not an understatement to say that the DPW staff literally keep the City operating.  City DPW employees all drive red trucks with the City’s logo on the door and they should be familiar faces with their collective decades of experience working in the City.  If you ever have any concerns whether somebody works for the City, you should call City Hall (616-696-1330) and ask. If somebody claims to work for the City and you have doubts, City Hall is happy to verify whether that person works for the City or not. If you ever have questions about your water bill, the City’s utility billing clerk is happy to talk with you about it at 616-696-1330 x 1199#

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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