North Miami City Hall on security alert after threats over water bill

08/22/2013 3:58 PM

08/22/2013 4:17 PM

A man claiming to be a North Miami resident is not happy with his costly city utility bill.

His reaction, apparently, was to call city hall and threaten the staffers there.

Now North Miami police are investigating, and the city’s administration has stepped up security measures at the complex located at 776 NE 125th St.

“You are going to have a war on your hands, and they are going to storm the building,” the caller told North Miami information technology director Ricardo Castillo, according to a police report.

In response to the threats, North Miami stationed a police officer in the city hall lobby and locked the north entrance of the building. The south entrance remains open as the only entrance and exit.

The disgruntled resident apparently has made other calls to individuals at city hall, including the city manager’s office, North Miami spokeswoman Pam Solomon said.

According to the police report, the resident “insisted he was being billed twice on his city water bill.”

North Miami has struggled with sending out timely bills to utility customers because of a glitch in its billing system.

Many customers received two quarterly bills, or six months’ worth, of utility fees back-to-back in July and August.

It’s unclear if this is the problem the caller was referring to when he called city hall to complain about his bill.

The menacing calls have caused alarm among the city’s employees. The police report noted that the caller spoke negatively about the city’s Haitian and Cuban personnel.

“Castillo, along with several other employees, are concerned the subject may come to city hall,” according to the report.

Solomon said North Miami is working on making city hall safer.

“We have a security desk on order that will be installed in the near future,” Solomon said. “We are one of the more open government facilities in South Florida. We are taking steps to make city hall more secure”

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