LETTER: City Coffers Filled On Backs Of Needy


Is Woodbury’s government by the people and for the people, or is it against the people?

Is Mayor Harold Patrick looking out for the people of Woodbury and the surrounding community, or is he making sure he gets a paycheck regardless of the people’s concerns?

On Wednesday evening (Feb. 23rd), we came home to find our water turned off. The valve wasn’t locked so I just turned it back on.

First thing Thursday morning (Feb. 24th), my wife called Woodbury city hall to check on the problem.  She spoke with a very nice young woman who said a payment had been posted on Feb. 22nd, and that there was nothing to worry about.

We came home on Thursday evening (Feb. 24nd), and again found our water cut off.  However, this time, there was a pin in the valve which prevented us from turning it back on again.

Fearing that something was still wrong with our water account, we searched our check book and could not locate a payment.  We searched everywhere for a bill and could not find one. Finally, after going through a stack of newspapers and magazines that were for the trash, we found the bill under the flap of a magazine.

The bill stated that the bill was due on February 10th. So yes, we were overdue. I went up first thing Friday morning (Feb. 25rd) and paid our bill, plus a $25 connect fee.

We typically pay our bills on time and our credit score is excellent, so this is a bit of an unusual situation for us.  However, we did some checking to see if cutting off water after only 12 days is a common practice for other communities.

We are originally from Houston, Texas so we checked their policy. After some research, we determined that the policy in Houston is to let a bill ride for three months before cutting off the water.  Given the smaller-than-postcard size of the bills and how easily they might be lost in the mail, this seems like a reasonable policy.

Our son just moved to the Woodbury area from Tucson, Arizona and stated that the policy in Tucson was to let it ride for four months. Cutting our water off after only 12 days, with no dunning bill, no phone call, no warning of any kind, seems like a government run amok, a government against the people, rather than one for the people.

Our hearts immediately went out to all the people on Woodbury city water living in Cannon County who might be struggling in these difficult economic times. Luckily, we are not in this situation, but what if we were required to make a decision between food for our children and paying the water bill on-time?

The decision is easy but the consequences are not.  We would then be required to pay a $25 connection fee to have our water restored.  For some of us, this might be $25 we don’t have. What if it was actually a responsible but struggling family and their water bill was lost in the mail like ours? This is not a respectful and serving way to make sure the city’s coffers are full.

Unless this policy is changed, let’s remember the name Harold Patrick so we know which box NOT to click next election day.
Elroy Sullivan, PhD
1581 Cunningham Road
Readyville, TN  37149