2010 Mayoral Letter
December 29, 2010
Enclosed are two ordinances that will take effect January 1, 2011. With Ordinance #2085 the City changed from requiring a refundable $85 utility deposit to a nonrefundable $100 connection fee. This change will only affect those customers who are establishing new service. For those who are moving to a new address there will be a $25 transfer fee. In other words, if you are planning on staying in your current home this Ordinance will not affect you. However, if you move to a new place after January 1st then you pay the $25 transfer fee.
Now for those customers who currently have an active deposit with the City, the deposit (plus interest) will be applied to the utility bill over the next several months.
In the other Ordinance (#2086) the City modified the rules and regulations for collection of utility bills and disconnection of utility accounts. The first change is that if a customer is disconnected for non-payment there reconnection fee will be tier instead of a flat $25. The tier schedule is $25 for the first time delinquent shut off, $50 for the second delinquent shut off, and $100 for the third and subsequent delinquent shut off. Also, once an account has been placed on the delinquent disconnect list the reconnection fee must be paid even if the utilities have not been physically disconnected.
Ordinance #2086 also states that each account will only be allowed two extensions per calendar year. The extension will only extend the due date seven business days from the 25th of the month. In order to receive an extension one must submit a signed application (available at City Hall) between the 11th and 25th of the month, and the customer must pay half of their total bill prior to obtaining an extension.
The last significant change enacted by Ordinance #2086 is that the City will begin charging a $50 inaccessibility fee if the customer's meter is obstructed. If a meter is obstructed the utility crew will make a second attempt to read the meter. If the meter is still obstructed a notice will be mailed to the customer requesting that access be arranged. If the meter is still obstructed, after given notice, then the City will assess the inaccessibility fee along with an estimated reading to your next utility bill.
The Commission is confident in that if a customer pays their bill on time these changes will have no bearing on them, and more important the Commission is hopeful that these changes will reduce the City's outstanding debt liability, and hence will help keep our water rates reasonable.
We as a Commission are very concerned with the higher cost of water, as well as the quality of water. That is why the City is will continue to fight for an equitable cost for the water and ensure that the Wholesale District is being prudent with their expenditures. Even though the City does not own and operate the water plant I have directed staff to offer assistance to resolve the hard water issue.
I would also like to assure you that as we fight to keep our water bills low we will not forgot about the needed repairs to our water lines, as well as our sewer lines. Due to the foresight of the voters we now have a one half percent sales tax dedicated to infrastructure repairs. Our plan for 2011 is to begin replacing sections of water and sewer lines. I am hoping that we will be able to use City crews for the labor, which will allow us to use the limited funds to purchase lines instead of paying for contract labor.
Other activities that I have envision for the City in 2011 is to begin demolishing dangerous structures and to begin cleaning up blighted neighborhoods. Along with replacing water lines and sewer lines I look forward in continuing street repairs we started last year including doing more street overlays. I am also hoping to repair the bathrooms at the parks, with special attention to the ball diamonds at the East Park.
As we close 2010 I think that we have a bright future for 2011. I hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas, and I wish everyone a joyous New Year, and a prosperous 2011.
Dennis D. Mollnow