I get calls and emails from Naperville residents, along with others from elsewhere asking questions. I answer the best I can, and/or provide direction to a specific source who can help them.
I had a call about a month ago from a resident renting an apartment who noticed something on his utility bill. He had read Watchdog postings about the City of Naperville increasing the charge for refuse/garbage pick-up by 617% while also changing the contractor used for the service from Republic to Waste Management. The increase won’t happen until the first of the year, so he is currently being charged $2 per month. However, he is not being serviced by the City of Naperville’s garbage pick-up service; the apartment complex he lives in contracts with Flood Brothers.
He called the City and got caught in the bureaucratic bicycle of not getting a straight answer. He was persistent with other calls to the City, and finally a department supervisor said, “Well no one else near you has called to complain”, as if that would address the issue. Finally the City said they would look into it, and call him back. He never did get a return call, however he did get a $12 credit ($2 for each of six months) on his next utility bill. Obviously someone at the city must have said, “yikes, we screwed up. Issue a credit and let’s hope no one else notices it”
If the City of Naperville would have handled the situation ‘properly’, maybe it would have simply gone unnoticed. They could have said, “Thank you for bringing that to our attention. We will rectify that for you. Would you like a credit on your utility bill, or a refund?” But no call from the City. Nothing but crickets.
Watchdog contacted 12 apartment/condominium complexes in Naperville and found that eight were using a private service for garbage pick-up, rather than using Naperville’s service contractor.
If you extrapolate this out, this could be a huge overcharge by the City of Naperville to residents.
- $2 per month, times ‘X’ months, times ‘Y” number of households.
- This could have been happening for years.
- Possible class-action lawsuit? Maybe.
- Possible contractual lawsuit? Maybe.
A couple of things are known for sure:
- The City of Naperville has been charging for services not rendered. Issuing a credit on the resident’s utility bill acknowledges that fact.
- The City of Naperville is now fully aware of the situation.
- If the City chooses to do nothing about righting the wrong, and correcting the situation, it will only intensify and and the dollars will escalate when the 617% increase to $12.35 per month takes effect.
It’s doubtful that the City of Naperville purposely chose to create this situation, however it’s probable that the City wasn’t paying attention to detail when the $2 per month, and soon-to-be $12.35 per month charge was approved.
To think this could all have been avoided if someone with authority within the City was paying attention to detail, or if this particular resident would have received a courteous return phone call. A simple solution (Occam’s Razor) would have been the best solution.