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Hiring difficulties could be linked to high utility bills in Henderson

HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) – Some people living in Henderson are looking for an explanation as to why their utility bills are so high. The city says it could be related to the challenge of hiring people in the wake of COVID-19.

Some longtime Henderson residents say they are seeing unprecedented amounts of utility bills. The city says a potential fix for the problem could be on the way, but it may take a while.

Gina Howard has lived in the same house for about two years and paid between $250 and $400 a month in utilities during that time. However, in the past few months, she has paid between $600 and $700.

“It’s sad that you have to take money out of your savings to pay such a large bill,” Howard said. “That’s twice as much as your house payment, and I feel bad for those who get those bills who can’t afford to do that.”

The City of Henderson’s utility billing system requires someone to visit each home and record their usage. Before the pandemic they had around six meter readers on staff, during the pandemic that number dropped to two. This meant meter readers couldn’t visit every home, so the city began estimating usage.

Recently, Henderson began bringing in meter readers to boost their numbers as they were having trouble hiring people to fill vacancies.

The city says it has struggled to fill all kinds of positions, including with firefighters, police, public works and sanitation.

“It’s been difficult, and I think it’s something that’s on the minds of our board of commissioners, to work hard on the recruiting and retention aspect,” said Donna Stinnett, staffing officer. public information from Henderson.

Gina says when she contacted the city, they said any incorrect estimates would be credited to the owners, but that doesn’t help right away.

“Everything will work itself out,” said Gina. “Everything will work itself out,” but it won’t work out on its own for people who don’t have $700 to pay their utility bills this month. It’s a big chunk of savings to take out to pay a bill, so it’s pretty devastating.

If you live in Henderson and are frustrated with the amount of your bills, the city advises you to contact the utility collection office.