Pandemic-related staffing shortage causes delays in Leesburg utility customer billing

LEESBURG, Fla. — Thousands of utility customers who get their service from the city of Leesburg could get a surprise on their next bill.

That’s because the company that’s paid to print and mail the bills fell behind their mailing schedule in the last billing cycle.

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The company said staffing issues related to COVID-19 were to blame for the delay.

Now, around 16,000 of Leesburg’s 27,000 customers could receive two bills back-to-back, or a larger bill covering two billing cycles.

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City officials said for several years, it has paid Pinnacle, a company in Alabama, to handle printing and mailing bills for utility services.

Recently, Pinnacle was taken over by another company in Georgia, and problems started.

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“So that system just got disrupted in the changeover, is the short version of it,” city manager Al Minner said.

Minner said the company claims COVID-19 crippled their workforce and they couldn’t get the work done.

The city expects nearly $5 million could go uncollected for the 30-day cycle.

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City officials said they are now working to get the problem fixed, and are considering moving to a different company.

“But until everything’s all back in smooth, back to our normal cycles, we’ll be suspending late fees and penalties and cut-offs,” Minner said.

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The city said it would work with people on their bills if this affected their budgets and they can’t pay the new bill all at once.

City officials recommend calling or stopping by City Hall to speak with customer service. They’re also hoping more people will switch to paperless billing.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.