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Monday, Dec. 22, 2014

Do Bell Buckle water issues still exist?

Posted Monday, November 19, 2012, at 4:39 PM

A reader wrote to me today stating in no uncertain terms that she does not think the Bell Buckle water situation is resolved. Here is her comment:

"I noticed in one of your blogs you mentioned the Bell Buckle water situation that has been going on. I also saw in the latest article that Jenny Hunt had said the new water lines had been put in to solve the problems that had been brought to their attention lately.

The new water lines may have helped some but definetly not most, we still have the price and pressure issue to deal with. I don't think it was a very good call to make a statement like that when you have so many people still facing water issues.

We did bring a lawsuit against the town because they basically refuse to work with the outside customers and I feel like that last statement was just a slap in the face.

Thank you, Brooke" (BTW, Brooke said she wanted me to use her name)

Any comments?


Comments
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[Show most recent comments first]

I agree about the pricing and pressure issue in regards to Bell Buckle . . . I live by myself and my water bill will be anywhere from $57 to $72 a month and I do not do anything different each month (shower, wash dishes, laundry). How can one person use that much water but every time I call about the issue they tell me I have a water leak or some other type of excuse when I do not? One month I actually got a bill that was $45 which would should be closer to normal but the next month it jumped to $69 even though I did not do anything different. I guess they are trying to milk as much money off their customers as they can. The water pressure could definitely be better . . . some morning when I take a shower it is definitely not that strong but then other days it will be ok. What makes me upset is that my friends and coworkers who receive their water from Bedford County Utility usually pay around $16-$20 a month and their service is far better than mine. How is that right?

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Nov 20, 2012, at 12:02 PM

We live on a hill outside of Bell Buckle and have had low pressure for the past 18+ years. The reason is that we are higher than the pumps can push and are at the end of the line. We had to resolve that with a reservoir at the house and our own water pump to build pressure.

We also have $90 water bills but in our case we DO have a leak. The water line is over a mile long from meter to house so, I have the fun of finding it and repairing it.

I usually have to wait until it gets much bigger to actually show in the fields that it crosses, but I look anyway. A good way to KNOW our property. (and others)

No reflection on BB Water, just our fact of living here.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Nov 20, 2012, at 1:52 PM

They just keep climbing. This month I paid over $90 for just water, no sewer. I have been told how to see if I have a leak and I do NOT!! So what do you do....we can not just go without but if the price keeps going up....we may have to. I mean my electric bill was only $30 more than my water.

I will say that I do have good water and decent pressure unlike some others. But the cost is eating away at our already high cost of living as it is. Again....what are we supposed to do?

-- Posted by bugforever on Tue, Nov 20, 2012, at 3:04 PM

The first of my paragraph did not post on the first post sorry :-(

It should have read:

We built our house around 12 years ago outside Bell Buckle. Our water bills were between $25-$30/month.

They just keep climbing..........(rest of comment see above)

-- Posted by bugforever on Tue, Nov 20, 2012, at 3:08 PM

I don't understand the flucuation either...one month $72 and the following month $89 (or higher)...no abnormal water usage either. I know a friend that pays A LOT less than we do (each month), has 3 adults living in the house, has 2 bathrooms and runs the dishwasher daily or every other. We have 1 bath, 2 adults/2 kids and no dishwasher and we both pay sewer.

-- Posted by neighborhood mom on Tue, Nov 20, 2012, at 9:21 PM

Ours is a unique situation (I hope), therefore so many others having "leakage" does sound strange.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Nov 21, 2012, at 7:52 AM

I agree with neighborhood mom . . . something really does not add up but Bell Buckle makes no attempt when you call to check on the issue, they automatically just say it there must be a leak or basically tell you that you must use that amount of water. It is very frustrating . . . I have never dealt with a town and utility that disrespects its citizens and customers the way it does. That is why I refuse to do business in Bell Buckle anymore because of this issue which I hate because I always enjoyed eating at Bell Buckle Cafe.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Wed, Nov 21, 2012, at 3:10 PM

I am not sure the town is getting the message from you boycotting businesses.

I am not defending them on this water situation but have you gone to talk to them in person? In the past, we always seemed to get some help.

One year they loaned me their leak detector. It is basically a microphone on steroids that allows you to hear hissing from a leak underground. They also gave me assistance on my largest monthly bill.

On a side note, we did not find the leak with this device but our daughter heard a two-way conversation in French. Seriously, she started laughing and handed me the headphones so I heard it as well.

Somehow we were picking up a telephone call, but just over a certain spot in our lawn. It went away after a minute or so, but it made me realize that some people may be picking up things like this when they "hear voices". Sorry, I digress.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Nov 22, 2012, at 7:15 AM

Thank you for putting this in your blog, it definitely needs more attention. We have been at every meeting in the last 10 months probably and the first one we miss she says that. It's completely unacceptable for them to disregard our problems, I understand people wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt, but we have had a lot of experience with them and it's never been good. We're going to the next meeting to ask how they could say something like that and I would greatly appreciate it if you all would come. The lawsuit is still on track, we need a voice in this and we will make a difference.

-- Posted by BrookeS on Thu, Nov 22, 2012, at 12:29 PM

I don't think anyone on the Board, Mrs. Hunt included, would argue that Bell Buckle doesn't have serious water and sewer problems. It is the primary topic of discussion at every Board meeting. As far as I can tell, the town has followed nearly every recommendation offered by third-party engineers from both private organizations and the State in an attempt to resolve issues ranging from inconsistent pressure, water loss, particulates in water and system infiltration. Aside from water purchases from Wartrace and BCUD, I think these tests and repairs are the largest expenditures on the town's budget. Unfortunately, all of this work has to be paid for, and the town's primary source of revenue is water sales. The result, is higher rates. Bell Buckle is not alone. One only needs to look to our neighbor, Wartrace, to see significant rate increases to pay for system repairs. What's the solution?

-- Posted by James Anderson on Fri, Nov 23, 2012, at 10:58 AM

I was not happy with her comment, and I don't think I'm the only one. Tensions are running high with this issue as you are well aware of, but I think that was a inaccurate statement. It's misleading to some of the people that aren't aware of what has went on at the meetings.

As for a solution the water and sewer money needs to be divided they've had third party organizations, including MTAS, tell them this since '08. You haven't been on the board long so you may not realize but we've been asking them to do this for months and they won't do it. I think everyone would like to see the actual breakdown of what's bringing in money. The state audit had it broke down but ya'll said that was a misprint I think.

-- Posted by BrookeS on Fri, Nov 23, 2012, at 11:52 AM

I promise, I am not playing dumb. I guess I just am when I ask, what is so difficult in separating two line items, water and sewer?

Is it breaking down the labor applied to each or something else?

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Nov 24, 2012, at 7:33 AM

We've been asking the same question for months. The audit that I got off the state website has it seperated, and every other town has it seperated. Most places like to know what is costing money and whats making. It's no secret the sewer loses money, and the board use to say the water lost money. After I brought up the audit they sarted saying the water is how the town made money. No offense to James because he just started but I've yet to get the same answer from two people. The story always changes just like the variations in water bills.

-- Posted by BrookeS on Sat, Nov 24, 2012, at 3:52 PM

You do hear them say we're working on the problem, but they've been working on the problem for 2 years now.

-- Posted by BrookeS on Sat, Nov 24, 2012, at 3:53 PM

bug forever: that's why we have a lawsuit against them. It's for the 3 main issues price, quality, and pressure.

-- Posted by BrookeS on Sat, Nov 24, 2012, at 8:15 PM

stevemills . . . I have not visited the town hall to address my issues due to the fact that the hours they are open are when I am at work. I have talked to them several times on the phone and even had the mayor call me after sending a letter explaining my dissatisfaction with the billing and the issue with the discolored water in 2010. I doubt their answers would be any different in person because they seem to care less about checking to see if a problem on their end exists. There is also the fact that they keep telling me I have to prove I have a water leak and that it has been fixed when there is no water leak to fix before they will adjust a bill. One time they tried to charge me $93 for water but I called them about it and they claimed it was read wrong and adjusted it to $59 only to call me back two days later to tell me they calculated it wrong and it was $72. That definitely does not give me faith in their abilities to tackle any issue.

Here is a comparison of the water usage and costs I have experienced over the past few months

April 5000 $65

May 4100 $59

June 6000 $72

July 2100 $46

August 3900 $58

September 4900 $64

October 6300 $74

Now how in the world can they say it's a water leak when it fluctuates like that . . . if I had a water leak then it would either stay the same or get progressively worse. Also, I am not doing anything different each month in regards to how I use water.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Sat, Nov 24, 2012, at 9:38 PM

I hope I found my water leak yesterday. I say hope because what I found was a 1" line totally broken and feeding the stream. It cannot have been that big last month or we would have had a whopper of a bill last month.

I guess I will experience current BB customer service this month.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Nov 25, 2012, at 7:52 AM

Jaxspike, ours is like that also and we do nothing different either. I just don't understand. If we were washing cars or stuff I could see it, but 1 bathroom and a washer is it for us, along with normal dishes, no dishwasher.

-- Posted by neighborhood mom on Sun, Nov 25, 2012, at 7:05 PM

Well we will be at the meeting in December, and I'm sure all this will be brought up. This is why we have the lawsuit, because you can't get any help from them! I've caught the mayor and some of the previous alderman making statements that weren't true at all, now whether it was a mistake or on purpose is up for you to determine. You're exactly right Jaxspike, they have no respect for their customers and it shows.

-- Posted by BrookeS on Sun, Nov 25, 2012, at 7:59 PM

Neighborhood mom . . . my situation is exactly the same as yours except I do have a dishwasher but haven't used it in about three years to keep water costs down. I probably do about three loads of laundry a week and take a shower every day and that is the extent of my water usage and that hasn't changed any from month to month. I take my car to a carwash because I figure it's cheaper than doing it at home which is sad to say.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Nov 26, 2012, at 12:41 PM

A friend of mine saw my last post and asked if I used the toilet and flushed it . . . I figured that was something that everyone would assume and didn't need to be said. Maybe that is where all that water is going. LOL!

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Nov 26, 2012, at 7:34 PM

jaxspike.....my father-in-law says to put a brick in your toilet (or something close to it in size) in the tank and it will help save on water. LOL

We have the water saver ones but that does not seem to help. But I just received this months bill and it is only $61. Down $30 with no change in laundry, dishes, showers or toilet flushes. Things that make you say hmmmmmmmmmmmm!

-- Posted by bugforever on Tue, Nov 27, 2012, at 4:51 PM


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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.