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By Carmen Ensinger
Members of the Carrollton Water and Sewer Committee met Tuesday, June 14 at City Hall to discuss the possibility of increasing the deposit to get the water turned on for those moving into rental houses.
Currently, when someone moves into a rental house, they are required to put down a $100 deposit to get the water turned on. When they move, this deposit is returned to them. However, Public Works Director Steve Rosentreter said the way the water bills are today, if a renter leaves owing a water bill, the $100 deposit sometimes doesn’t even cover the delinquent bill.
“A lot of water bills are running $120 to $140 so when a renter leaves, they are leaving us $20 to $40 short,” Rosentreter said. “So, we think it needs to go up – gradually. Marty (Gross) thinks it needs to go up to $150, which would cover the cost. We don’t want to make money off of it, but at the same time we don’t need to lose money either.”
The committee, made up of council members Dewain Freand, John Banghart and Tim Reif, agreed to put it on the agenda for July.
Another item to be put on the agenda for the July meeting is increasing the amount of the reconnect fee for having the water turned on and off. The fee is currently $25 if it is during regular working hours or $75 after hours or during the weekends.
“There are people who leave here during the winter months and they don’t want to have a water bill during the four or so months they are gone, so they have us go out and take the meter out,” Rosentreter said. “Then, if they have to come home for some reason, say for a funeral, then they call us to come out and put it back in for a day or two.”
Rosentreter said previously it was $50 but the council restructured it to $25 but they tacked the $25 onto every person who is put onto the shut-off list so when Gross prints out the shut-off list on the 26th of the month, the $25 is added onto the delinquent bill immediately. Water bills are due on the 15th of the month so on the 26th, they are more than 10 days late so a water customer must pay the additional $25 even if they come in and pay their bill before the workers actually shut their water off.
This was written into an ordinance so the committee decided it would ask the council to leave the delinquent water customer shut-off fee at $25 but raise the fee for those who ask for their water to be shut off to $50.
Following the water and sewer meeting, a meeting was held of the Streets and Alleys and Sidewalks and Ditches committees.
Alderman Tim Reif is Chairman of this committee and wanted to discuss sidewalks with Rosentreter.
“Unfortunately, because of our manpower situation, we haven’t been able to do any sidewalks in a while and they have started to get away from us,” Reif said. “There are some streets who don’t even have sidewalks and others need replaced.”
Reif said he thought he had found someone who could possibly help out.
“I have someone who might be able to help us with some of the flat work two days a week,” Reif said. “He has done finished concrete work for years. He doesn’t feel comfortable doing blueprints for ramps or things like that but sidewalks and normal approaches he would be fine with.”
Rosentreter said he would love to be able to do some sidewalks, but with the manpower he has, plus all of the other things his men has to do, they simply don’t have the time to do them right now.
Reif said that was why he was suggesting hiring this concrete man.
“I know we are busy, but we haven’t poured a yard of concrete in three or four years,” Reif said. “I don’t know if you would like to hire another part time person to do that – but you tell us what you need.”
Rosentreter said the answer wasn’t just someone to do sidewalks.
“I don’t want to hire someone to just do flat (sidewalks) work,” he said. “You have got to have someone to be able to come in and be able to do whatever we need them to do.”
Rosentreter said that the four guys he currently has working spends approximately three days a week just on maintenance within the city, such as mowing, picking up brush, spraying weeds, etc.
“We just don’t have enough help right now to start doing sidewalks,” Rosentreter said. “We would need at least another two full times guys and I know we can’t afford that.”
Reif said that they certainly can’t afford two more full time employees but maybe they can one.
“If we can find someone who can do concrete and is competent, then we can send one guy with that person to get everything laid out,” Reif said. “Then we can have everyone come out and help pour everything then that will free up your guys to get everything ready.”
Mayor Mike Snyder, who was formerly the Public Works Director for more than two decades, said it takes a crew of three or four to pour concrete.
Reif once again asked Rosentreter if he could use another employee.
“If we are three days doing maintenance and caught get caught up, then we can’t expand,” he said. “Not that we are in bad shape now, but it is only going to get busier. I will take all the help I can get.”
Reif said the committee would be talking with the personnel committee to try to get him another employee.