Grace Periods for Roma Residents End with New Late Fee
ROMA – The city of Roma is implementing a late fee after it found 30 percent of its customers paid utility bills late.
Roma resident Eulogio Reyna said his latest utility bill for May came with a surprise.
“A $15 late fee… They said it’s a new system that they put there,” he said.
Reyna said he got no previous notice of the late fee.
Roma city manager Crisanto Salinas only agreed to an off-camera interview. He confirmed they started charging a new $15 fine.
The city council passed an ordinance to impose a late fee back in September of 2016. The ordinance went into effect a month after.
Between October and January, Salinas said people were given a 10-day grace period to pay their bill. People who still owed any time after the deadline were charged a $15 fine.
By January, the penalty date and due date weren’t 10 days apart. Roma residents no longer had the grace period.
Reyna said the tighter due date also came with no warning.
“What I want to know is where’s the money going? Why are they charging $15? That’s a lot,” he said.
Officials said it’s all business and they can’t run the city when bills aren’t paid on time.
The city said it’s willing to work out a payment plan with those who have late fees and on their financial ability to pay.
Salinas said the late fees go directly for waste water treatment, the water and gasoline for city vehicles.
The city also offers online services for residents looking to pay their bills. People can access their account and see real-time balances, payment amounts and bill due dates, as well as graphics detailing their consumption histories.
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