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L-EWA deals with bad debt
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Bad debt and how to collect it was the main topic of discussion during the Lugoff-Elgin Water Authority (L-EWA) board of directors meeting.

Chairman Vince Halter pointed out that tapholders who haven’t paid their bills owe more than $16,000 to the utility.

General Manager Mike Hancock said most of the bad debt stems from rental property.

“We’ve established a policy with apartment complexes that they are not individually metered by unit,” Hancock said.

The policy makes the property owner responsible for the payment.

“Now, the owner can charge whatever he wants to for the water to be included in the rent, but it gives us someone to hold accountable for the bill,” Hancock said.

Hancock explained that since late 2010, renters requesting L-EWA services turned on in their name are required to pay a refundable $100 deposit before receiving service. He also said the water authority has partnered with the S.C. Municipal Association to attached unpaid water bills to their state income tax refund.

“As long as we provide a service and then get paid after the fact, we’re always going to have bad debt. Because people will use our services and decide not to pay,” Hancock said.

In other business:

• During a special June 9 meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss a contractual matter concerning an industrial prospect considering Kershaw County. After the executive session the board unanimously approved a motion to assist Kershaw County in recruiting the new industry by giving the general manager the authority to negotiate incentives with the new industrial prospect up to the limits of “Package B,” as discussed in executive session.

• Digital Assurance Certification LLC recognized the L-EWA for five years of full disclosure of its bond agreements. Attorney Jay Bender explained the award is “acknowledging five consecutive years of annual disclosure and filings relative to our bond agreements.”

“It indicates that the authority has been enrolled in the disclosure filing honor roll for the respective year 2006 through 2010. So, we’re doing what we need to do in respect to reporting on our bonds,” Bender said.

• Hancock reminded the board that the Lugoff-Elgin area is still under “Drought One” conditions and asked for all consumers to voluntarily conserve water.

• Annual water reports have been mailed to all tapholders. The brochure includes a table of components that are in L-EWA water.

“It’s very informative. Lots of information is in there. I recommend everyone read over it,” Halter said.