Lakewood was founded in 1954 as the first “contract city” and became famous over time for its flexibility in finding a good balance between the use of contractors, city staff and other government agencies to deliver the best possible services to residents. Lakewood does that with trash service, street sweeping, law enforcement and other city services. The City of Lakewood is now starting to issue utility bills for water and trash service with the assistance of Fathom, the city’s new billing contractor. The city previously used another contractor to assist with water and trash bills. The change is designed to improve service to Lakewood customers. Fathom has a U.S.-based call center with more staff to answer calls more quickly than Lakewood’s current call center. And, for city water customers, Fathom has an advanced “smart” metering and data system that will provide more information to customers to assist with managing their water usage. A letter dated September 25 was sent to every city water and trash customer explaining the new billing process. If you pay your bills in person at city hall or through the mail, you won’t need to make any changes—just write your new account number on your check and continue to pay as you always have. Your new account number will come with your new bill. If you pay online using your checking account and the ACH system, you won’t need to make any changes either. All your account information will be transferred automatically to the new Fathom system. But if you use other online payment systems, such as paying with a credit card, you will need to re-enroll your card in the new system. Instructions for doing so will come with your next bill and can be found on the Fathom-Lakewood website at https://lakewood.u2you.gwfathom.com. Actual trash service will continue to be provided by EDCO Waste Disposal. So questions regarding new trash carts, trash skips or other trash service questions should continue to go to EDCO at 562-531-3054. But trash bills will be sent out and processed by Fathom. Fathom’s customer service phone number will be included in your next bill. Starting in November and continuing through April 2018, Fathom will install new advanced water meters throughout the city water system. The new smart meters will give customers data on their hour-by-hour water use which can help identify costly leaks and make water use more efficient. Fathom will send letters to customers several weeks in advance of their new meter installation. The City of Lakewood will continue to fully own and operate the city water system. Fathom will simply be a new contractor for billing and the provision of the new smart meters, and a partner with the city in answering customer service questions related to water and trash. Customers of Golden State Water Co. will not be affected by the changes in water billing or the new meters. For any questions about the new billing system and for any future questions that Fathom cannot answer, you can always contact Lakewood city staff at 562-866-9771, ext. 2140 or via email at Service1@lakewoodcity.org.