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Resident's water bill aid catches on at City Hall

It was a regular day in City Hall when customer service received a call that exemplified the spirit of compassion that runs deep in the Hendersonville community.

“I had read an article in the paper about the City working with people to set up payment plans when they had gotten behind on their water bill,” said Lia Barth. “I thought, you know, I don’t have a lot of money, but I can do something. And that might be a big help to somebody else.”

Lia called the city’s customer service number and the staff was able to apply her contribution directly to a randomly selected water customer who was delinquent on their payments.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have kept my full-time job during all this,” Lia said. “I’ve been trying to keep my eyes open and my ears open on ways that I could help. Even if it is just a small way.”

Jamie McMinn, a customer service representative with the city, is the person that took Lia’s phone call. After hearing about what Lia wanted to do, Jamie herself contributed to another customer’s past due balance.

“When Lia called, I was thinking this is really important and we need to find a way to make this happen,” Jamie McMinn said. “My husband and I have both stayed employed during this process. We haven’t received a financial hit during this time, but looking around, the need is astonishing. I’ve been so blessed, why not contribute to someone else so they can be blessed?”

The generosity shown by Lia and Jamie has inspired other customer service team members to do the same.

“We understand how disruptive COVID-19 has been on the community,” said Assistant City Manager Brian Pahle. “Customer Service has established a temporary payment plan for people with past due utility accounts which allows them to pay off their balances over a period of twelve months.” Mr. Pahle said he appreciates the citizen’s compassionate gesture and how quickly the Finance Department made it possible for the public to be able to help their fellow community members.

Customers with delinquencies must apply for the plan by September 30 to avoid late fees and disconnection of services. The payment plan application is online at and can also be set up over the phone at (828) 697-3052 or at the payment window in City Hall located at 160 6th Avenue East.

Any members of the community inspired by Lia’s efforts to pay it forward can contact Customer Service at (828) 697-3052 or email Citizens will be asked to provide their name, phone number, and email, and a staff member will assist them in applying a payment to a randomly selected customer’s balance.