A new company is responsible for mailing water and sewer bills for the city of Tuscaloosa after a previous contractor "abandoned their contractual obligations" late last year.

In a statement sent to the Thread, Stacy Vaughn, the city's Director of Public Services, said the city was partnered with a company called Pinnacle Data Systems to mail bills to tens of thousands of Tuscaloosa residents.

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Vaughn said in December, Pinnacle "abandoned their contractual obligations" and failed to mail water bills for at least a full month without any notification to the city about the lapse in service.

"This issue, combined with problems caused by COVID-19 and postal delays around the holidays caused the city to fall behind on our water and sewer bills," Vaughn said. "In January, the Mayor [Walt Maddox] created an internal project team that he asked me to lead to access these billing issues and provide solutions."

Vaughn said since the team was created, all 10 of the city's water billing cycles have returned to reading meters and billing customers on time, with consistent 30-day cycles on each bill.

"To the best of our knowledge, all customers are receiving their bills from our new billing processor, PCI, in a timely manner," Vaughn said. "Due to the conversion, we shifted the time of the month that customers receive their bills. This is the 'new normal' time frame in which customers can expect their bills each month.'"

Vaughn said there are no known issues with the city's e-billing system, and that customers can sign up for electronic billing at Tuscaloosa.com/ebill to avoid any potential postal delays in receiving their bills.

Vaughn said in a few months when her team is finished with its assessment of the situation, it will recommend a plan for the future of water and sewer billing, and at that time, the city will update all customers directly on how to proceed moving forward.

"In the meantime, we encourage anyone with a question about their bill to call Tuscaloosa 311 so that our Water and Sewer Customer Services Team can assist them directly," Vaughn said.

For updates on these issues and more at City Hall, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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