Water customers who owe may pay

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Water customers who owe the town of Banks backed payments may soon have to pay up.

Current or previous customers owe the town around $2,600.

Initially it was brought up that the town should write these people off, but some council members didn’t agree with that.

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Councilmember Lisa Correale spoke out against it early.

“Why do we want to write these people off?” Correale said. “I’m not in favor of all these. If we write them off, we aren’t going to pursue them.”

Banks Mayor Dewayne Henderson agreed with Correale.

“I agree with Lisa. We need to purse,” Henderson said.

The council debated on whether or not to write off anything less than $50.

One problem the town was having is finding these people after they move out., with most of overdue accounts being rental properties.

Currently the town charges a $40 connection fee.

“If we are going to write this off we need to up our deposit,” Correale said.

The council also decided to talk to the circuit clerk to see about small claims court.

So the council agreed to collect the debts and consult the town’s attorney Joel Lee Williams about writing a letter the town could send to the people with over due accounts requesting payment.

In other business, Councilmember Wilda Steele asked the council for permission to extend an electric fence across an old town road in order to keep a neighbor’s horse out of her yard.

The council voted to allow Steele to do this, and she refrained from voting.

Henderson said County Commission Jimmy Barron came out to check on some problems the town had been experiencing.

“Jimmy Barron met me Saturday morning to see what he could do about Church Street,” Henderson said. “He is supposed to be bringing (County Engineer) Russell Oliver out here, I think sometime this week.”

Henderson said they had also had a report from a customer on state highway 201 that a water pipe was sticking out because the dirt had washed out from around it.

“We went and looked at it and Barron said the county would haul some dirt in,” Henderson said.

Henderson also discussed the fire department was in the process of restructuring and David Barbaree would be taking over as the new treasurer.

“I’m looking for things to be different,” Henderson said. “Our auditor suggested someone from the fire department meet with the council at least quarterly.”

The town paid the fire department’s truck payment in September.

“Can’t we ask them to sale something to pay for this,” Correale said.

Henderson said there was only one more payment to make.

“I asked the fire chief to sell something. They sold a Bronco to pay for last year’s payment,” Henderson said.

The council also discussed a raise for city clerk Jennifer Smith, who works as a part time clerk.

Currently the clerk is paid out of two accounts: the town and the water, and currently makes $12,000 a year – with $2,400 coming from the town and $9,600 coming from the water to make the total salary.

“We don’t have to do this tonight,” Henderson said.

The council decided it would be best to make a decision when all the council was at the meeting.

“I don’t think we should vote on it without everyone being here,” Correale said.

But some council members weren’t eager to give the raise.

“I know she has to put up with a lot from the public, but we can’t help that,” Steele said. “I’m not against it, but that’s pretty good money for the part-time clerk. We don’t have the financial ability to pay them what they are worth.”