Late water bills will not be waived

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Alderman Harry Meyer said at Monday’s city council meeting that during the pandemic it would be appropriate to waive the late fees on the city water and sewer utility bills for all the citizens.

“The light company, the gas company, they have waived some fees and done some adjusting for citizens,” Meyer said, adding that the city should show the same type of public support. It was discussed that a certain part of the city’s utility fees were waived until two months ago, but reinstated.

Meyer argued that the pandemic is not over and some people are still barely making ends meet, therefore the relief should be extended. “It would be good to just waive that fee,” he said. But he hit opposition from council and the mayor when he made a motion to waive the late fees.

“Part of the problem with waiving the late fees,” Berry said, “is they just tend not to pay the water bill. After a certain point in time there’s no reason to keep waiving it,” adding that water will be shut off if they don’t pay it.

Berry said the late fee is encouragement to pay the water bill.

Alderman Terry McClung said that the late fees are already low, “On a residential water bill you are looking at a $3 to $5 in a late fee, it’s not like it’s a huge figure. Granted it is what it is… I mean it’s less than a pack of cigarettes. So maybe we’re just pulling and pushing on something that really is not substantial enough to make a difference.”

Meyer responded, “If it is not substantial enough to make a difference, then we might as well waive it. The CDC stated that within the next 90 days we can expect 3,000 deaths a day, that there will be no improvement until four to six months from now, so we’re talking about this pandemic, it’s really taken its toll, and Carroll County is in the top three of new cases.

“I think that it is only right that we give a break to our working people in town that struggled all summer long.”

Harman quickly replied, “I think the question really is not necessarily what the CDC is saying about that, but whether or not the city will be busy, and we saw it was busy in October, November and pretty much into September.”

Harman said business will be slow in January, but said it is always slow in January until the first week of March. Alderman Melissa Greene said the town is slowing down for the season, “Covid is still going strong until we get the vaccine… this could be a tough winter.” Neither Greene nor any other alderman gave a supporting vote to Meyer’s motion to waive the late fees, and the motion failed.

Final items

Jodi Breedlove was reappointed to position six of the Planning Commission for a term through Jan. 1, 2024, and Mickey Schneider was appointed to position two of the Cemetery Commission for a term through Feb. 15, 2024.

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