Queen­stown con­sid­ers cut­offs for delin­quent wa­ter, sewer bills

Record Observer - - News - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­times.com

QUEEN­STOWN — Has the time come for the town of Queen­stown to con­sider turn­ing off wa­ter and sewer ser­vice to res­i­dents who are delin­quent in mak­ing pay­ments in a timely fash­ion?

The town com­mis­sion­ers dis­cussed the mat­ter at their meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, March 23 and agreed to ex­plore it fur­ther. Ac­cord­ing to Town Clerk Amy Moore, some cus­tomers haven’t paid their wa­ter and sewer bills since De­cem­ber. In such in­stances, those cases are ad­ver­tised in the news­pa­pers prior to be­ing re­ferred to the tax court for a pos­si­ble tax sale but that has hap­pened only rarely, said Com­mis­sioner Mike Bow­ell.

“I def­i­nitely think we need some­thing to keep this in front of peo­ple’s heads. We need some­thing that will give them the in­cen­tive to get this done right. I hate to have to go to tax court...but un­paid bills de­prive us of cash flow,” Bow­ell said.

“We prob­a­bly need to have a hard and fast rule,” said Com­mis­sioner Ge­orge Plumbo. “Af­ter X num­ber of days, we’re shut­ting you off, and make it part of the pro­ce­dure.”

Tom Wil­lis, pres­i­dent of the com­mis­sion­ers, said he wants to keep things as friendly as pos­si­ble and not get away from the “per­sonal part” of deal­ing with the res­i­dents of a town as small as Queen­stown.

“I per­son­ally don’t think it’s go­ing to be cut and dried, and you’re go­ing to have to look at each case in­di­vid­u­ally,” he said. “Some­body might have been sick, some­body might be on a fixed in­come and can’t af­ford to pay much of any­thing. Some­body’s go­ing to have to look at each and ev­ery one of them.”

He sug­gested that a com­mit­tee be cre­ated to con­sider each case in­di­vid­u­ally.

Bow­ell said other small mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties face sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions and “I’m sure there’s prece­dent from all kinds of towns on the East­ern Shore that have some sort of de­vice to get it done.”

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