South­west City Coun­cil Tack­les Con­tested Wa­ter Bill

McDonald County Press - - COUNTY - Me­gan Davis

Donna Blake ap­peared be­fore the South­west City Coun­cil last week to dis­pute a wa­ter bill.

Blake said she and her hus­band, Richard, moved from their prop­erty on Blue­bird Lane on June 17 but were still sent a bill for July.

Blake said her hus­band con­tacted City Hall to no­tify em­ploy­ees of their im­pend­ing move and asked that the wa­ter me­ter be turned off at the end of the month. The wa­ter me­ter was read on June 26, and on June 30, the me­ter was dis­con­nected.

“The pre­vi­ous landowner asked that the me­ter be turned off at the end of the month and the new ten­ants asked to ac­ti­vate a new ac­count at the be­gin­ning of the month,” said City Clerk Missy Zinn.

Zinn ex­plained that, be­cause the Blake’s ac­count wasn’t dis­con­nected un­til June 30, they were charged for the four re­main­ing days in the month and their bill was ad­justed to re­flect the min­i­mum us­age fee and the monthly sewer charge.

“Yes, the rate was ad­justed,” Donna said. “But why should we pay if the build­ing was not oc­cu­pied by us?”

Af­ter much dis­cus­sion about which party is re­spon­si­ble for the bill, Al­der­man Tam­mie Martin chimed in.

“What do we need to do here?” she asked. “We have res­i­dents who have lived in South­west City their whole lives and they owe the city $27.25.”

Zinn noted the wa­ter us­age for those four days to­talled 200 gal­lons. The coun­cil sug­gested charg­ing the Blake’s $12 for the min­i­mum us­age fee of the first 1,000 gal­lons.

“If it was some­one else, they’d be pay­ing it,” said Al­der­man Ray Cooper.

The coun­cil voted to charge the Blake’s the min­i­mum us­age fee.

Mayor David Blake and Al­der­man Ron Jack­son ab­stained from the vote due to per­sonal con­nec­tions.

Depart­men­tal Re­ports

Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Jackie Coat­ney up­dated coun­cil mem­bers on the re­cent FEMA visit. He said the city should be fully re­im­bursed for re­pair costs on the Honey Creek bridge, but the city may have to foot the cost for re­pairs on Frye and Lib­erty roads.

Coat­ney noted Blanken­ship Park will be in­spected by FEMA sep­a­rately.

Mit­i­ga­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tives will visit South­west City soon to re­view pos­si­ble im­prove­ments to pre­vent fu­ture dam­age.

Al­der­man Tam­mie Martin asked about progress on mak­ing the Cor­ner Cafe ADA com­pli­ant. Coat­ney and the coun­cil dis­cussed work­ing with Mis­souri De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion to se­cure grants that could help im­prove side­walks through­out the city.

“We are in des­per­ate need of a side­walk to get our peo­ple from the bridge to Dol­lar Gen­eral,” said Mayor David Blake. “There’s not an evening that I don’t see a mother and some kids walk­ing down the road with gro­cery bags.”

Zinn was granted per­mis­sion to at­tend two up­com­ing meet­ings re­gard­ing road­ways and side­walks in mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Coat­ney again brought up the cost of set­ting a new me­ter. The city cur­rently charges a new con­nec­tion fee of $250 — while the equip­ment costs $370 be­fore la­bor.

“It usu­ally takes two to four hours of la­bor, or $300 if you con­tract in­stal­la­tion. But it to­tals about $500-$600 ev­ery time,” Coat­ney said. “It only hap­pens a few times per year. But, still, the city is los­ing money.”

Coat­ney pro­vided coun­cil mem­bers with mul­ti­ple set­ting fees from other fourth-class cities. Prices ranged from $250 to $1,000.

The coun­cil dis­cussed the in­stal­la­tion of a new light pole be­hind the Anne Crox­dale Me­mo­rial Li­brary to il­lu­mi­nate the pavil­ion and pic­nic area. The in­stal­la­tion is be­ing paid for by Cor­ner Stone Bank. The city is will­ing to pay for elec­tri­cal ser­vice, but is pro­hib­ited from pay­ing the bill if the pole is erected on pri­vate prop­erty.

Al­der­man Martin, who works at Cor­ner Stone Bank, said she would con­vene with bank rep­re­sen­ta­tives and up­date the coun­cil.

The fam­ily of Lon­nie Smith ad­dressed the coun­cil about rent­ing the city’s stor­age build­ing be­hind City Hall to be re­pur­posed as a gym. The build­ing cur­rently houses un­used equip­ment and mis­cel­la­neous items.

Al­der­man Martin noted the city would need to be re­leased of li­a­bil­ity in the event of an ac­ci­dent on the prop­erty. No de­ci­sion was made.

In other busi­ness:

The Se­nior Cit­i­zen’s Cen­ter will be host­ing their an­nual Spaghetti Din­ner and Dessert Auc­tion at 6 p.m. Mon­day, Oct. 2.

Zinn re­ported bring­ing in $3,000 of rev­enue by col­lect­ing un­paid wa­ter debts.

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