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Norfolk staff shortage causes delay in water service bills

Norfolk homeowners got answers from city leaders about their water bill delay.

NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk homeowner Laurie Naismith noticed something missing from her monthly expenses: her water bill from the Hampton Roads Sanitation District.

“I like to get all my bills paid so that I know at the beginning of the month this is what I have to live on," said Naismith.

Naismith said she’s on a fixed income and has been waiting for that bill for 40-days.

Naismith said she found out she's not alone. Several of her neighbors posted about the problem on the Nextdoor app.

13News Now reached out to Norfolk city leaders. Councilwoman Andria McClellan sent a lengthy response attributing the issue to staffing shortages.

"According to the Norfolk Water Accounts Call Center, due to staffing shortages with Norfolk's meter reading provider and weather-related events, water bill cycles have increased due to it taking longer to read meters. This can create an impact on bills based on consumption accrued during the longer cycle and per day billing for items such as refuse services having extra days of billing. The meter reading is handled by Norfolk's contractor. Once we receive that reading, we then process and send the bill to HRSD. They then apply their own Wastewater Treatment charge and provision a combined bill for all services. It is then mailed to you for payment from HRSD and their mailing house. It’s important to note the varying number of days in the billing period does not reduce the number of days the customer has to remit payment. Bills are always due 21 days after the invoice date.

Unfortunately, staffing shortages and supply chain issues are a problem throughout all municipalities around the country at the moment. We are trying our best to correct this quickly, as these are disruptive to our residents. The city has held several hiring fairs and is actively publicizing openings on the city website. The city will have information about all current openings at the upcoming Engage Norfolk event at the Norfolk Scope Exhibition Hall from 11am-3pm on Sunday, March 20th, along with over 100 organizations that have community resources and opportunities to engage in the community."

“I just wish, you know, they could hire more people," said Naismith.

If a homeowner has any questions in regards to their bill, they can call the customer service center at 757-664-6700.

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