Birmingham Water Works plans Hoover meeting to address billing concerns

Birmingham Water Works

Concerns about high or inconsistent water bills have Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato asking the Birmingham Water Works for help.

Brocato says concerns came from the Trace Crossings neighborhood, and now that’s where Birmingham Water Works will host a meeting this week to help its customers get answers.

Birmingham Water Works will host a community meeting at the Met Thursday at 6:00. Spokesman Rick Jackson says the executive team will be present to help customers understand bills and learn how to detect leaks. Customer service representatives will also be on site to to address individual bills on the spot.

The meeting sparked from the action of Alene Gamel, who says she faced a challenging time trying to get her bill accurate when she moved into her new Trace Crossings home.

“Every time I called them, they said, oh no ma’am,” recalled Gamel. “This is your water bill. You have to pay it. If you don’t pay it, we’re cutting you off.”

Then on a community website, she realized some of her neighbors had billing issues too.

She showed us 167 replies on a single thread about water billing issues.

“It made me feel angry and helpless and frustrated,” explained Gamel. “And I’m a fixer person, so when something’s wrong or I feel like there’s injustice, I want to fix it.”

Gamel gathered concerns and went to Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato for help.

“I had a group of citizens, I had a neighborhood that was very concerned,” said Brocato. “They’re very organized.”

Brocato says issues varied, but stemmed from bills.

“I’ve seen some pretty significant bills,” said Brocato. “Seven to eight hundred dollars. Some of them a thousand dollars. And some are legitimate. A lot of times people may have leaks they don’t know about.”

The mayor contacted Birmingham Water Works, which he says was open to helping and cooperative in organizing the meeting.

Gamel's issue is now resolved, but others like Jim Burton are looking forward to getting answers at the meeting.

“I think it’s good someone’s trying to explain,” said Burton. “But if all they’re trying to do is explain rather than reduce it- that’s what I’m interested in. I want my water to be reduced. I haven’t used water, my water goes up, my sewage goes up, so I don’t understand.”

Gamel hopes Burton and others can get some answers.

“I’m thrilled,” said Gamel. “I’m so excited. I feel like I’ve done something great for the community in bringing this about and hopefully people can get some resolutions.”

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