City Officials Reach Water Agreement

City officials have reached a contract agreement with Greater Cincinnati Water Works to provide billing and collection services for Lexington's sewer, landfill, and water quality fees. Those fees are currently tacked on to monthly water bills, but Kentucky American Water decided last fall to end its long-standing billing contract with the city. That means that  about 115,000 accounts will start receiving a separate bill for the Lexington fees beginning in September.

“We’re working to have about seven different payment options, anywhere from the traditional mailing of your check to going to retail places such as a Shell station or Wal-mart to make a payment directly,” says city revenue director Bill O'Mara.

Lexington government takes in about $64 million a year in sewer, landfill, and water quality fees. Because they are attached to water bills, the city has a very high collection rate. O'Mara says the new system may require more effort to make sure residents pay the fees on time.

“We will have an ongoing arrangement with Kentucky American Water where we’re actually buying the water usage data so we can calculate the sewer usage fee appropriately. For very delinquent accounts, we will request for termination of service.”

The city will pay Greater Cincinnati Water Works nearly $2.3 million annually to manage the billing services. The Urban County Council is expected to approve the contract at its meeting Thursday.