Helena Magazine

October’s Letter from the Mayor

Published 1:21 pm Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Fall is here, and all things pumpkins have begun working on their takeover of the world.

For this month’s letter, I want to focus on water usage and why your water bill may be higher.

But first, I want to congratulate the football teams, band, cheerleaders, dancers and support staff on such a great start to the season this year for both Helena Middle School and Helena High School. To sit back and think about it, it’s the students and teachers who are the strong driving force within the community we all know and love.

The city’s new comprehensive plan has fully been approved by the Planning and Zoning Committee with an endorsement by the City Council.

The comprehensive plan will be used as a blueprint and rails on how Helena continues to move forward in smart ways that not only benefit us today but will make sure that when we make decisions, it will not hinder us as a city in the future.

I have always preached and the actions back it up, that we must have smart, calculated and actionable plans in place as we move forward, and I intend to continue in that direction.

Now, on to what I said would be the focus of this month: Water bills and why they may be higher in current times.

First, I want to encourage each of you to call the Utility Department at 205-663-1670 to sign up for an e-Bill that gives you a 13-month trends report ahead of when your bill gets mailed out and provides an easy way to pay your bill each month. Here are some common issues we see every month at the Utility Board.

Has the amount of water you have been using changed? Have you had house guests for an extended period of time? On average, a person uses 40-80 gallons of water per day. During the summer months, watering your lawn more is the most common reason a bill can be high. Running your sprinkler for one hour can use 400 gallons of water. If you use a hose to water, did you forget to go back out and turn it off?

There could be a leaking faucet or a running toilet in your home.

Did you fill a swimming pool with a garden hose? Or use a pressure washer to clean the deck and driveway?

One of the costliest household wastes of water is a leaky toilet. According to the American Water Works Association, toilets account for 45 percent of all indoor water uses in a typical home. It is estimated that 20 percent of all toilets leak.

An irrigation system with pressure set at 60 pounds per square inch that has a leak 1/32nd of an inch in diameter can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.

Check your garden hose for leaks at its connection to the spigot. If it leaks while you run your hose, replace the nylon or rubber hose washer.

Each month we receive about 60 calls from our almost 7,000 customers requesting a recheck of their meter due to a high bill. The team is always there to make those rechecks and we have an average of four customers per month who have been billed in error. The team tries to get it right before anyone ever sees a bill hit the email or mailbox.

To wrap it up, I hope that everyone has an amazing October and enjoys the Trick or Treating in the city on Monday, Oct. 31. Until next month, be safe, and as always, thank you for allowing me to serve our community each day.

Together As One,