After a tough year of enduring watering restrictions and facing the prospect of higher rates, Gainesville’s nearly 45,000 water customers now have the chance to have a lunch of hot dogs, chips, cookies and popcorn on the Public Utilities Department.
"Especially during this time with the drought being so tough, we want to let our customers know we do appreciate and value them," said Tina Wetherford, manager of finance and administration for the utility.
The Gainesville utility’s first ever customer appreciation day comes at the end of National Drinking Water Week, an annual celebration by the American Water Works Association of what only the tap can deliver.
The local customer appreciation day is a chance for Gainesville water customers to meet the people who supply their water and then send the bill for it, and share their concerns with those people.
"If they need to talk, we are here for them," Wetherford said.
Customers will be able to get information about water conservation and sign up to have their water bills directly debited from their bank accounts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the main building located at 757 Queen City Parkway.
The event is not all water business, however.
Customers who come will receive gifts, and there will be booths for face painting, temporary tattoos and balloons for the kids. Captain Conservation might also swoop down for a visit, Wetherford says.
"(Customers) need to know that they’re valued," Wetherford said. "We want them to know that we are here for them, and we are looking out for the citizens and customers of Gainesville. We want them to feel appreciated."