DETROIT — In an effort to make it easier for residents to pay their bills and deter them from missing payments, the City of Detroit has altered its policies regarding when utility bills will be due and fines issued for late payments.
The council unanimously voted to move the due date for bills from the 10th of the month to the 15th. City Secretary Tami Nix said the change will hopefully make it easier for residents to pay their utility bills.
“Being on the 15th instead of the 10th gives them more time to get their bill, and if they get paid twice a month, it gives them a chance to have gotten two paychecks by then,” Nix said. “Some people get paid on the last day and the middle, or the first day and the middle.”
The council also voted to increase late fines from $5 to $25 to incentivize residents to pay on time.
“We’ve tightened up a lot since (Nix) got here,” Mayor Kenny Snodgrass said. “And we’re still giving them a lot of good ol’ boy leeway, still… This will help cut down on that leeway.”
There was some discussion about also charging a disconnect fee when turning off a late payer’s water and sewer services, but the council ultimately decided against it. However, the council will continue to charge a $25 reconnection fee.
In other business, the council voted to close Smith Street, due to it being washed out. Nix said the city has already placed traffic cones blocking the entrances to the road, but motorists regularly move them aside and drive down the road anyway.
“We have put thousands of dollars into putting down gravel there over the years,” Nix said after the meeting. “It continues to wash out, so we’ll invest in some of those paneled barricades. Because when it’s as sketchy as it is, you really don’t need to be on it.”
Nix said the road will remain closed until the city paves it with cement, though the possibility of paving was met with some opposition from Councilman Brandon Brown, who was wary about spending the money for it since the street doesn’t get much traffic.
“There isn’t even anyone who lives on the street… It’s just a through-road,” Brown said.
No action was taken on possibly paving the road.