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Posted on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

Vendor error causes duplicate water bills to go out to 1,000 Ann Arbor customers

By Ryan J. Stanton

If you live in Ann Arbor and received two city water bills in the mail recently, don't worry — you don't have to pay twice.

According to Jean Pearson, the city's customer service supervisor, the vendor that prints and mails the city's water bills, PrintMailPro, mistakenly printed 1,000 duplicate water bills.

City officials said there is no cost to the city because it's the vendor's error. In addition, PrintMailPro has committed to reviewing its processes to ensure the error doesn't happen again.


Ann Arbor resident Barb Gilbert waters flowers in her yard at her Sixth Street home back in June.

Jeffrey Smith |

Lisa Wondrash, a spokeswoman for the city, said the city's customer service center has received about five phone calls a day since last week from water customers who received duplicate bills. She said customers have been understanding that it was an inadvertent error by the city's vendor.

Nearly $1.8 million worth of increases in water, sewer and stormwater rates that were approved by the Ann Arbor City Council took effect July 1.

The rate adjustments are expected to provide revenue increases of 3.25 percent in water, 4.25 percent in sewer and 4 percent in stormwater.

That's projected to increase revenues in water, sewer, and stormwater by $664,834, $916,577 and $184,064 respectively.

The impact of the increases on the average single-family customer is $19.40 per year, a net increase of 3.21 percent if consumption is unchanged from last year.

The city's drinking water rates for most residential customers are tiered based on usage. The city measures usage in units equal to 100 cubic feet of water or 748 gallons.

A typical single family bill is calculated with 21 units per quarter, is in the second tier for stormwater and receives a 10 percent discount for payment on or before the due date.

But even at the highest rate, the city's charges for drinking water are still significantly less than a penny a gallon.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

This type of thing would not happen if we privatize government services and hire the lowest bidder! Oh, wait...


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

That's one way to make up a shortfall...........


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

I looked up PrintMailPro on the internet and it is in Austin, Texas. Isn't there a local vendor who could do this work? In the same vein, we mail our University of Michigan health insurance bills to Pittsburgh. What's wrong with this picture?????


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 11:05 a.m.

If everything reported by commenters, etc. is true, it seems that Michigan is not the place for these types of services based on pricing. Go figure!


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

I completely agree. I'm willing to pay a few cents more per quarter to have my bill printed and mailed from a Michigan company. Carl Levin uses a printing company in Wisconsin. Abominable.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 1:33 a.m.

Local vendors charge too much?


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 10:12 p.m.

We pay our Ann Arbor parking tickets to a company in Tarrytown, New York!

Barbara Clarke

Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 8:40 p.m.

Hey, Ryan Stanton . . . Lisa Wondrash is more than a spokeswoman for the city. Please, in the future, list her title.


Wed, Sep 26, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

Typical Ann arborite more concernecd with the who than the what.

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

Lisa Wondrash is the city's communications director and in that role serves as a spokesperson for the city, but you're right, she does a lot more than that. Here's a good overview of the Communications Office:

Lets Get Real

Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

$19.40 per year increase? Mine went up that much on my current quarterly bill and the increased rates were only in effect for a portion of that quarter. Another bill of goods we've been sold.


Tue, Sep 25, 2012 : 8:11 p.m.

What are the chances of a 1,000 duplicate "rebate" checks going out to customers?