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Glitch affects stormwater bills for Nov.

COVINGTON - About 1,000 Covington property owners received erroneous stormwater bills in November.

Due to a glitch with billing that did not take into account previous credits, some customers were overbilled, according to Bobby Johnson, the city's systems information manager.

Stormwater bills are sent out twice a year, in July and November, Johnson said.

When bills were mailed out in July, customers were given the option of making one lump sum payment or two equal payments.

But customers who took the two payment option were not credited for the amount they paid.

For example, if a customer received a bill for $200 and paid $100 toward that, rather than being deducted from the total amount owed on the next bill, the $100 was added. As a result, customers were overbilled, Johnson said.

The error only appeared on November bills. The initial bills sent in July were correct, he said.

The city previously outsourced stormwater billing, but after problems with the out-of-state company, including a December 2006 incident in which bills contained several errors and were mailed two months late, the city opted to move the process in-house.

The city hired Optimus Solutions out of Norcross to create a custom application necessary to move the billing in-house.

A glitch that occurred during that process resulted in the erroneous bills, Johnson said.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure no one pays a bill they don't owe," he added.

When customers come to City Hall to pay their stormwater bills, a customer service representative will pull up their accounts to make sure the bill is correct, Johnson said.

Only the information reflected on the bills is incorrect - the information in the system is accurate, Johnson said.

Those who drop payments off in the night deposit and overpay will receive their checks back in the mail, along with a letter of explanation, Johnson said.

If customers are concerned that they may have overpaid, they should call customer service at 770-385-2000. Customers may also request a complete report showing all payments and credits, he said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.