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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Keep It Simple, Cuz!

A few years back Key West had an Assistant City Manager that was full of pomp and circumstance. He blustered about making Key West a leader in technology by getting the entire city wired for the future. I like it when government gets simple jobs done correctly and efficiently. I don't care if Key West is a leader, but I do care if things work correctly, efficiently, and as inexpensively as possible. This blog address but one issue: getting new utility services started.

I have a gripe about how difficult some departments or utilities have made the establishment of new service. It is a nightmare! This is the set-up. New property owners (and tenants that personally pay for utilities) must (1) fill out an application form to establish a new account; (2) pay a deposit to insure payment of monthly fees; and (3) demonstrate proof of ownership or proof of residency by providing a copy of a deed or a lease for the proposed new account.

The forms have repetitive and redundant information data fields. Some require disclosure of personal information such as social security numbers, driver's license numbers, birth dates, etc.
Each utility asks the same basic information but then requires other information related to that departments specific account data fields. One utility requires that its form be be notarized and accompanied by a copy of a drivers license. But that same form can be faxed. It seems to me whoever created the form was trying his or her bureaucratic best to make the application as "legal" as possible.

My suggestion is simple: create one application form that meets the data requirements of all three utilities: Keys Energy, Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority, and City of Key West Sewer & Trash. The same goes for Suburban Propane and Amerigas. They have made the transfer of existing systems in place from the prior owner to the new owner an absolute nightmare. Comcast Cable has its own outlandish requirements for installing new cable and Internet service. Whoever designed this requirement must have graduated from the Bank of America Screw The Customer Training Academy & Car Wash.

My Modest Proposal is for the electric, water, and sewer utilities to create one simple Application Form for New Service. This form could be filled out one time. It should contain general data fields to identify the owner (or responsible party) and ancillary data fields to link the new customer with the specific locator fields used by each individual utility. A simple form could be filled out one time and submitted by a buyer or closing agent as soon as title passes. Keep it simple, Cuz.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You make too much sense. Having had to negotiate that maze not too long ago, all I can add is amen.


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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.