The Mount Olive Town Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed in its monthly session last week to write off slightly more than $37,000 in delinquent water bill accounts.
The last time such action was taken was six years ago when a debt total of about $70,000 was waived.
The decline is credited to the implementation of a $100 deposit fee for new customers, and a $100 fee to reconnect service due to nonpayment of a bill, according to the town.
A big majority of the write-offs were from customers, who are now deceased, or were less than $25 and not financially feasible for collection procedures, according to Town Manager Charles Brown.
Since the new deposit and reconnection fees were implemented, the delinquent accounts have dropped dramatically, Brown told board members.
He said the town is also on board with the state in its debt-setoff program that allows North Carolina to take tax refunds or lottery winnings to pay for delinquent bills to municipalities.
“These changes have helped a lot, particularly the $100 deposit on water accounts. If they decide to leave town and not pay their water bill then that deposit usually takes care of it all,” he said.
All water bills are required to be paid by the 10th of each month, and there is also a $10 late fee imposed.