If you were puzzled by a bill the city sent you for $60 a few days back, you're not alone.
So was City Councilman Steve Schewel.
Just like a plain citizen, Schewel got an invoice in the mail from the solid-waste department. After a moment he realized it was the annual fee for the city to pick up his leaves, shrub prunings and other yard waste.
If you're an official or a long-time customer, you could probably figure that out, but nowhere on the bill did it state what good or service Schewel was being billed for. There was just a cryptic "YWA."
Further, there was an instruction to mail the bill with payment so that "the return address shows in the envelope window," but there was no envelope, much less a window.
There was also a notice that the bill could be paid by credit card, to a Web address that was hard to make out since it was printed over another block of text. Schewel went to pay online, only to find no way to do so at the prescribed www.durhamnc.gov. So he, as citizens are told to do, called Durham One Call, which informed him that the bill misspoke and it couldn't be paid via cyberspace after all.
Following proper procedure, Schewel notified City Manager Tom Bonfield, who notified Solid Waste Director Donald Long, who notified the finance department. The next day he emailed Schewel, "We are going to have a total review," and assured him "Fixes will be applied to next year's bills."
In the meantime, we've still got to pay the 60 bucks somehow.