Overbilled by the Sewerage and Water Board?

Tommy Tucker, WWL First News
Wednesday, November 8th

Tommy talks to WWL-TV investigative reporter Katie Moore about her latest report on the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Talking about the surge of water board. They had to meeting yesterday City Council meeting hearing if you will and not anywhere near as many people got to express their views as had hoped to Katie Moore joins us right now double WL TV. Investigative reporter and Katie first of all good morning. Secondly I don't know with any of this really would've come to light headed not been for you and David and Mike. Yeah hi unit for me to think that the we get reaction from people. We know what they're talking about a story that we're in and of course that's coming up next Wednesday that. You know it's sort of that decline accident in the beginning we are working on earth are now it's airing next Wednesday night. On channel 4 at 6 o'clock. It's the thing with reaction unit and I think a lot of it's really an army you know not. This sell ourselves short putt and it bitterly that reaction to dissident I think the people are starting to find out about that that have been made attitude toward port. Over decades not just the past couple of years. And that their frustration at the at a willing point. In a way to 82 immediate you know being a local guy is are you not a Guy Ritchie on saying it surprises yet that. Hmmm yeah it's almost like the rat revelations that there's gambling in Rick's casino gone back to the Casablanca resident reference because. But that the running joke was how bad this surge of water board was right. Our sleep Zaid in those kind of things but yet now we seem surprised that it was it's in such as state of of messed. Yeah you know I think that people have joked about it a long time and I know that people have been frustrated with water pills and armed with prepared that it made Patrick Moore portrait here I mean. You know our former actual reporter they'll cap I like it out and that you know the agency. It's really a captain in this next two. For thirty years of talking about it you know I think hole and probably took wireline club. It was burning and then. You know all of that being that now after the number of we have EU flies. It just really has put a spotlight on an. What I would describe at chronic problem within the agency. And that's not to say that there aren't a lot of really dedicated hard working people who work there who are extremely competent what they do but. On the flip side of that I think there are a lot of institutional problems that. And you were going to be highlighting over the next week. Com did that council hearing yesterday of Paul Rainwater seem to have some. Gonna turn around so yeah he's right she's right the other right they're doing their same memo and the beer until November. Yeah I mean it you know I don't really kind of that he has come and it illegal we're talking you can. When hurricane eight what's happening. I think the evening he and members of anger management team that shocked at what they've been finding. You know you mention. During our hurricane eight temperate for entering my air and he said. You know he he was shocked that we found interns. You know deeply buried in all have email. So I don't have email addresses they don't communicate be now they apparently get printed out. Information and get credited for example at the pump station. And so you know I don't know why modern business operates that way. So where where did this. This really taken turned. To use that the name year's series down the drain was it always like this is a is a so cumulative effect of things that have. Happened way way back when and and way back when and and back when and even today are rumored they was there a point where you tipped in really got bad. I think and I think it's an cumulative thing I think you're right that it it's into the net and you know. Happening over time happening over the last few decades and air and battles that are political battles that. Have resulted in short of finding I think look into it with a cigarette at a press. Ashley heard that drainage and being able to improve security system maintain that drainage system. There's been at or just drastic lack of funding. And and it's at a political battle over who is supposed to handle. The drainage system in particular. And so when you have a fight going on like that where an agent to get a lot of hate toward the other is that the court it's your partner it's your fault. You know you know he he hear it that's your responsibility and that's your responsibility when it all ones that stand. You know at the recipe for disaster and I think that. Where we are at this point and as there are decisions in recent here I think that could have been made it to go back to back the email info on mean you know. A kid getting emails were starting from sort indication that the police. At that that. Want for somebody came up there but I don't I don't know that they have access to computers a lot of areas where they're working so bringing that agency into them on our air is something that. You know I think anyone could look. From the outside it say that the stock happened yesterday. And I think that we heard a lot from you know Paul Rainwater from the era and an anti. About trying to really modernize and and they hit an issue is expected Egypt. In terms of that's not you know that's not our concern that cures not that's that's not yours it's ours. This is a fundamental organizational problem because you have the surge in water board as one entity and then the department of public works is another. I'm no expert but I can say. It's from my you know research I've done absolutely. I think it's absolutely probably has ceased to. Different agency handling one. Central government functions. And I you know talking to you'll Norman another and Eddie Albert yesterday and eat pork. Administrative government experience in the net it absolutely problem. You have to have one. Boy deciding. What's gonna happen without agency in order to make it fact. This would seem right for patronage. Control in terms of of dollars and budget. And I guess they're ready building their own little feisty and then it does with the like that would be to me that they gold lizard look intended to accomplish rather than. A sector we straining the city in repairing streets. I mean I think that there's been a lot about the year I think that they need to see where people able to hire people. Who are connected I think that others have got opportunities in the third and one report to release may. Long time career out of working there and I think that's fantastic and there's a lot of institutional knowledge there. But I think that it's been in disarray quite a bit over the past you know several years and we heard particular port workers. And and to the community yesterday that the council meeting can carry it out. They get that were made eagle and that decree came to an end to his credit I think he he really went try to take steps to modernize the agency. But at the same time it of people who work it took one report talking and hiring. Top heavy. Administrative back that they thought either he did acting in the high dollar salaries. And they use that arm. You know crews of workers to. You know don't really a dirty job let's me honest to me it's an easy job and what they're apt to do so. They're looking at pack and saint that top level of management expanding. When they're like where where it raises where my training. You know. I've dedicated myself and my life for the agency. And they're right there a lot of frustration there and not the Al water cliche but really at that. We are talking about the mess over at City Hall in new loans surge of water board although I guess Katie Moore double WL TV investigative reporter. I guess that is and a different building is a non. But Tutsis on the right there with things. So new do you have any car series and the surge in water board will take a burning questions for Katie as it relates to. The structures. The the people keyed in an eye on it throughout all these years blame you heard Katie in terms of people have come forward. With horror stories about their experience with us and WV. Well most of those horror stories are in the form of on billing. That app finally heard such have the greatest people yesterday at a City Council meeting talking about their issues with they'll especially recently. Land in particular board has admitted that they pack problem protected computer and that they are. That they rented and added that double billing. You know got out and customers earlier this year and we're hearing from people whose spill are still all over the place. I'm like it played a number of people contacted at at eight you know where we're mark we focus on drainage. But at the acute blood that we got this summer but they're a very real and very large issue with people trying to. They get their water bills straightened out and it's the situation that they can see that. In of people a problem with that water them all they called her to what report it to water board says we'll send somebody out after a woman earlier this week at bat. Croc as a running out three and she had to eat this. Ridiculous water bill that was. Yet three times what it should be chino the three candidates that they can that they obviously out liar cheat and paying a lot. Several years. So she had to wait for in app wants to get somebody for the burglar were out there and then. You know it should really get an answer and you know in order to avoid it has repeatedly see it should have to pay. And then people on the back and once they figure out they're cute and whether or not you know they had to pay an uncapped amount. You know than certain whatever product that again Bill Bennett read right now you know all that being an ad people complaining about service problems. I currently being in it I picnic at stake in Kabul picnic epic. They did that lick it. Still others and not been able to drain the city other not mean you league award of the pops the other not other than the pumps on being able pump the water. Mom and other than not being able get the bills straight everything else Morgan pretty well. Well and can't fix leaks left got that other than not being able to fix leaks mrs. link in the play is very enjoyable as that would that was one I'm here and here. Hang on Robert genitalia and got a W out of morning your I was Katie Moore. We say about our hey mom and you're on with Katie Moore and evidently. Dominance. You get set on go on but remember there's two more board as a tension that built matchup than 30%. Of what you putting. I know center grants retire with a lot of 179 grand a year cumin and. Yet but we don't want beforehand. The first the issue at one point two million dollars a person and like 700000 program about like but think about that W over the independent company. Match and of the 30%. We'll tell me not heaven Tommy's story Robert about the surgeon waterborne hang on does. Creates you know and try to get some help. I didn't. I hit a rental property. They have ordered them fortune range pull up ministry and the process and amp states and they put Spain and Opel wanted to meet is that go to his house but the war ought to. So. When the credit will be called him and told them that they indeed his crocodile. And it said notre waters turned off and announces that no joking around turned it all. And so to monthly cycle that the war the bust that points to one meter sarcoma. And they say well you have to find that need floors. And I was like. It is my rob short prop you have to cope on its app review. After he attended move out. About fourteen months be original timeout called them they came out on the war in need and they wanted to be depleted they'll. And how much you are and you much there's no chance come in at night so. They're much of what you what you were ordered. Hang on Robert nor you to name a numbering is more information. Katie when it comes down to get a couple minutes as I had a lot of questions in terms of I guess procedure on this so the mayor is the present a loser to one report ranked. And is going on back for decades drank. So who can comment trying to. Yeah and make another water board pun but who really has clean hands when it comes of this. As far as being mayor and going way back to land because at some point and I was in earlier about drain and sitting in pumping the water and all that stuff but. Why did know may year look at this and stand up and say you'll hole and fixes cereal and go to the public and explaining is actually where we are. Ted did to their credit they have tried to get out of the pack in terms of getting it drainage beat pac. At that. On the during its portion not not all all the other stuff that need addressing and needs fixing and you know we got into what all that is from the interim management team yesterday it's helpful. But I I think that this is banned. Ever want a political agency. As opposed to just being a public utility. For decades and so the content of the fact that it is day. Political entity he like it or not you know the reform particular report weaker teams are supposed to change that but it. Appears from everything that we garnered. It are investigating that hasn't happened so it's still political agency decisions are made. Based on politics instead of being based on what's best for the utility. That is not run at purely a business now on the outside of that. You could say this is the public utility their only function is. To keep the city state and dry to provide clean drinking water and make sure that we don't have a problem with sewage in the city. And that's the only option they're not concerned with making a profit each day. On on that and that that men that that would be acting. I'm not quite sure what they are concerned with getting more double WL TV investigative reporter our guests they have. I don't even know specials of the adequate superlatives like Katie it would be more of a next Jose I get so Lou what would you call it coming up on. 6 o'clock next Wednesday evening. Had to dig investigative report per hour long investigative report calls down the drain and it's carrying on channel four. November it's full pretty excited about. Shortly put into it and within Manning not going to hundreds of public record. I'm interviewing friends and people. Trying to get the bottom of why this city flooded on August Tibet and before that on July 20 back and then. How we ended up this way with our our public utility in. Arguably. It seems like Camelot where king Arthur is sitting there saying targeted have come to this and that's why I think a lot of us are sitting building I would ask is an analyst people call in on this and and Katie Willis to go on a minute but. In terms of the surge of water board east actively communicating. What the money was needed for because for example I don't I don't know that any of us really. Knew about catch basins I know we all Kerry did you know get out there cleaning catch basin and in front view an inning to believes and all of that out not thinking at least not myself saying and at what was beneath that was climbed. And I guess the same thing when it comes of the pumps in the end repeating an inch an hour half an inch thereafter and not really I guess questioning or no one day if this that was true or not I know that's an answer a I guess a subjective thing. I just got to believe that the do you think Katie that we heard enough about catch basins or about the you know the ninety degree angle and won all had to be clean and and so forth. Well right now I I think that it what it every time we have a hurricane coming. We hear municipalities saying get up there clean and prettier kept speeds and the outer outer what we don't think about hoping that. The public really realize except for those who have kept statement to clearly that clearly don't work on the streets. Is that it's what's inside the state then perhaps the biggest problem and it's what's inside the height that I speak into the main line. The biggest problem is it going back to previous point about whether people sound the alarm app and aunt Millie is that it could be activist. You know issues in big dot org and all of that. Pushes to really address drainage in our city. Not only after Katrina and achievement involved and back in the 80s90s. And was really clash began during it adequately funded. Associate degree doors are you Ehrlich talked to her about. You know. What the public is that cold and what the reaction is that and I know that life insurance but a lot of people say Ottawa paper drainage speed at apple that your. And both of them being. Acting in Quito it could be argued that both of those things are essential if you live in the metropolitan. Area. You know about the argument that happening make going forward now and the people are really excited about the idea. And more money on drainage when they see what's going on the testing that's been spent wondering. Now is as we talk here I think bullets they had you know. It looks for more money intake in the you know it's hammer something and showed him to show people exactly how to catch basin mark's way it was so important clean these. In minor word preventing in May have exposed how bad is the situation really was and they won anybody know David in Slidell higher and got a W out the morning. Any good morning I have a billing problem with search war board was Obama's all of booze and urged fortunes 1992. Have been overbilled tapes amounts for years and years and years outside they'll just tripled. And I get called salute to war boarded sent somebody out it's really investigate. Come out that finding and bill states. Ally and enough it did it doubled again. And now I have my plot come out of course it was a leaked the Anita it was on sot was spot bill. Well I built got a thirty soccer now. And ridiculous. And out tried calling him. He sees what they can do to correct the bill. Make Omega and at this special number and numbers up and I'd ever. It ineptitude it security of course it mean if it disappeared pretty secure they don't even tell you did an absolutely. So. That the day off but went down there. I brought my bills I went online and on my payment confirmation numbers this big give me on their site children where in 1998 general. In some crazy saying. They stated why up and down assembly about the odd in an at a 20000 now I'm bill. And then I didn't make up for ten years. I mean bill that was totally predict such a on a lady she doesn't that's not the system we go law. We call our computers. So it may amnesty you're all onsite. If you can hit it vehicle checks. And burn them it. I have confirmation on this payment operational. To sit debt that the way we do it. You know to bring check canceled checks go all out to check to come back stand not a puppet. I wanna do to add the computer right it what it showed what we need is short if she would not allow me to do. As a supervisor at the same reaction David hey look at all of etiquette well. We're we're taking number off the air and we'll give indicating T I think you have to move in. To talk about all the problems. And the IS and WB I saw yesterday during the City Council. Come hearing I guess what it was as so many adamantly. Opposed to bypassing. The civil service thing with requests for proposals as the will was all about. That well until my app that it colleague is also working on are down very special and Erick went day to another adult on there. I'm. He actually. Really didn't have been viewed it are. And yesterday at Paul Rainwater and Helena City Council members were also concerned. That it is not privatization advocate and he said he wanted to make out loud and clear that this is not an intent to privatize. He. Maintains that this is an attempt to get highly skilled hackers through private company to come in until somebody that profession and that our bacon on the dirt and water board. He you know acting at their real concern among people that are on Erin and think about the highly skilled positions that are open at the art of war or whether or not find people build them salaries. That the sort of what abort paid through the regular circuit with them I think it would. It's there plants to. You know bigger fill those gaps in the system. But that you had to count the numbers saying we don't think that's straight week he could find people who are going to do that job so. This does that concern for a lot of people who work in the two to one report right now they're very concerned that this is going to be a move to privatizing the whole system. And that's what you heard does. Very loud concerns from from those workers yesterday. In terms of turbines. Pumps the age of the system. And believe there was another scandal lore or at least report of an and credible ineptitude when. Adding him in Morgan don't want him for ten years someone meant. He had there is there's been a lot of work being done turbines and we've done than expected report on that so far there's more to come next Wednesday but. You know you have this antiquated and power plants and power plant Natalie across column for the train at the it's the cause that is where water right trees that we had to use that they're the very real questions that need to be asked about. On power and CE. Upon that upon that they stay art the oldest that you did integrated type of power that the power play reply it's. There aren't many people they are the most reliable because their simple machine and that they can popular watered them efficiently. Our unique power then is that antiquated at the powers that need to be on that. Are there reliable and that they've been great for the city. At what point is it too much to try to keep putting money into the power plants to power what good day if he can't power them and I think that the very. Real question it's sort of reports that interface in the city state in the Max out coming on in years. Have you ever seen a movie No Country for Old Men Katie. I happened that year low is a great line where we're Tommy Lee Jones as eliminate a mess it'll until one gets here. Thank you for your time next win 8:6 o'clock channel four. Down in the audience educating. And I saw any.