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Bloomington Owes Normal Over Dropped Sewer Bill Remittance

Bridgestone plant in Normal
Utility customers such as the Bridgestone tire plant in Normal that use Bloomington water and Normal sewer services are at the center of a long-undetected billing mix-up between the two municipalities.

A nine-year oversight means the City of Bloomington owes money to the Town of Normal.

Normal City Manager Pam Reece said Wednesday the issue is about money from sewer utility customers in Normal that use city water. The city and town have long used unified billing for those customers.

"There has been a sewer billing mix-up. And staff from Bloomington and Normal are working together to get this resolved," said Reece. "I can't really identify why the interruption occurred."

The utility customers in question include places on the west side in the former Metro Zone such as Rivian and the Crossroads Center, but also other customers, including Carle BroMenn Medical Center in Normal and the Bridgestone Firestone plant.

"While Bloomington had issued the utility bill for both the water and sewer and collected the user fees, they hadn't remitted the revenues to Normal from those sewer fees," said Reece.

Reece said neither the city nor the town can even find a written agreement that covers the issue. Reece noted the beginning of the lapse predates Bloomington's withdrawal from the Metro Zone by some years and so appears unconnected to that dispute.

She said Bloomington estimates the amount owed at $600,000, but an independent audit suggested by Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason will decide the precise amount.

Reece said the city and town are developing a new formal agreement.

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WGLT News Director Charlie Schlenker grew up in Rock Island and graduated from Augustana College. He has spent more than three decades in radio.