North Miami water customers have not been billed for the past three months because of a computer error.
The computer glitch has left residents and business owners in North Miami, Biscayne Park and parts of unincorporated Miami-Dade bill-free for the October, November and December cycle.
But customers are not getting a free ride. It is unclear when the city will send out the bills, but city officials said the bills will be sent out soon.
“We are making every effort to issue bills as expeditiously as possible, to avoid back-to-back billing,” city spokeswoman Pam Solomon wrote in a statement.
If customers receive their bills in March, that means they will likely have to pay six months’ worth of bills — last quarter’s and the current quarter, which started in January and ends in March.
“I take responsibility for not being able to send the bills. However, I have to make sure the bill that I’m sending is the correct bill,” said North Miami finance director Vernon Paul at Tuesday’s council meeting.
The city is switching from an older system to Eden, a more modern computerized management program.
“We were on an antiquated system. This is part of the woes of switching and coming into a new era,” said North Miami City Manager Stephen Johnson, adding that “it is a slight inconvenience, but accuracy is paramount.”
Johnson said the new system will eventually allow customers to pay their bills online or enroll in automatic billing with their checking accounts.
The delayed payments are not expected to have any financial impact on the city’s day-to-day operations, Johnson said.
At least one council member said he was unhappy that the city’s error will inconvenience families and businesses. Councilman Scott Galvin asked the city’s staff to come up with a plan to help alleviate the financial blow that six months’ worth of bills might have on customers.
“People are going to be asked to pay six months of bills — that’s hard,” he said.
Once the system is fixed, Paul assured the council that similar delays won’t happen. Paul did not say when the issues will be resolved.
“We should not have a problem going forward,” Paul said. “We’ll bill everyone in a timely fashion.”