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Troy City Council recognizes

senior pageant winner

By MICHELLE J. WILSON

Staff Writer

Published Aug. 27, 1999

The Troy City Council and Mayor Jimmy C. Lunsford presented a proclamation to Giovina Loving at their meeting Tuesday.

City officials recognized Loving because she won the 1999 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home pageant Aug. 10 in Birmingham. She will represent Pike Manor and Troy for the coming year.

Loving competed against 70 other Alabama women for the title, Lunsford said.

"I’ve never been so surprised in my life," Loving said. "I thank my family and friends and all the precious people surrounding me."

Besides recognizing Loving, the council took just one vote at its meeting. Council members unanimously accepted the minutes from their Aug. 10 meeting.

In other business, the council tabled ordinances 166 and 167, which concern proposed changes to the city’s utility billing procedures. Both measures will be examined at the body’s next meeting Sept. 7.

Action was not taken on the ordinances because council members José Henderson and Jason Reeves were absent from the meeting, said Council Chairman John H. Witherington.

The proposed Ordinance 166 would increase the late payment fees by $2 for city utility customers while giving citizens about 12 more days to pay their bills, including late and nonpayment fees, before their power is cut-off.

Customers who do not pay their bills by the 10th of the month would be assessed a fee of $5 for electric and $2 for water or five percent of each bill, whichever is greater. If the bill is not paid by the 20th of the month, a $20 fee is added. The electricity is cut off by the third of the next month if payment is not received.

Under the present rules, late bills have an extra $5 fee, and bills not paid by the 20th are subject to disconnection.

Ordinance 167 deals with the administration of the utility billing process.

Mattie McGrady addressed council members and the mayor about the proposed ordinances.

"I am not in favor of increased fees and service termination because it will cause additional hardship on people living on fixed incomes," McGrady said. "We want to pay our bills on time and are not able to afford the $7 late fee."

Instead of changing the utility ordinance, McGrady said council members need to work to bring more jobs to the area to employ people who do not have enough money to pay their utility bills. She suggested city officials come up with public funds or donations to pay the costs incurred by customers who do not pay their utility bills on time.

"We need help from the council and not additional hardship," she said.

Lunsford responded by thanking McGrady for speaking to the council. He said no changes to the current procedure have been finalized. The changes are simply proposed.

"We try to deliver utilities at the lowest possible rate," Lunsford said. "To do this we must ensure we run efficiently while considering the needs of the citizens.

"We have taken into consideration those living on fixed incomes. We are not trying to take advantage of anyone."

Lunsford said the city’s rates are reasonable and are lower that surrounding areas.

He asked for McGrady’s assistance in coming up with ways city officials can get customers to pay their electric and water bills on time.

"These proposed ordinances give people an additional incentive to pay their bills on time so the city doesn’t have cash flow problems," Lunsford said. "It is important that good paying people don’t have to subsidize the expenses of those who don’t pay.

"We are trying to be good stewards of the tax payers dollars."

Ordinance 168, which concerns a proposed rezoning, was also on the council’s agenda. Council will hold a hearing Sept. 28 about the proposed rezoning of a property on Pecan Street. Concerned citizens can discuss the matter with council members at this hearing.

Troy Planning Commission recommended the council approve the rezoning requested by Whaley Pecan Company, Witherington said. It would change the zoning of the 3.1 acres from R2 medium density residential to M1 light industrial.