Brocton wants people to pay water bills

By GARY HENRY ghenry@prairiepress.net
Posted 5/18/20

BROCTON — The Brocton Village Board is serious about following proper protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A notice printed at the top of the agenda posted at the village hall stated a …

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Brocton wants people to pay water bills

Posted

BROCTON — The Brocton Village Board is serious about following proper protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A notice printed at the top of the agenda posted at the village hall stated a maximum of 10 people were allowed inside and all present were required to wear a mask. The village board met Wednesday, May 13.

Trustee Christie Cox noticed the water department report showed some village residents are amassing large, unpaid water bills. She described the amount as substantial in some cases.

“I had one guy tell me he can pay, but he is not going to while we can’t do anything about it,” said Mayor Dennis Cary.

Under the state’s executive orders for coping with COVID-19, utilities are prohibited from shutting off services for unpaid bills. Cox suggested once those orders are lifted, all unpaid water bills become due, in full, during the next billing cycle. Households that do not pay the total amount in arrears will have water service cut. The other trustees agreed.

Trustee Debbie Porter expressed appreciation for residents who have continued to pay water bills and acknowledged some people may be having financial difficulty because of the pandemic, but it angered her that a few are deliberately not paying because the village cannot take action against them at this time.

“We have expenses to keep the water going to everybody,” said Porter. “We can’t let our water department go back into the red because they are not paying.”

The next water bill will include a printed message to warn customers that letting unpaid water bills accumulate will eventually result in one large bill that must be paid in full to continue receiving service. The unpaid bills will not be forgiven.

A problem with tall grass and weeds was on the table for action.

“Some yards are out of control,” said Cox, adding she talked to one resident who has promised to mow within the week, depending on rain.

The trustees passed a nuisance ordinance stating it is illegal to allow any plant, except for trees and ornamentals, to reach a height of eight inches. Property owners in violation will receive only one notice per year with a five-day period to rectify.

Failure to act will result in the village mowing the property at a $125 fee. Should the growth get out of hand on subsequent dates, the village will mow the property without issuing any more violation notices and assess another $125 for each mowing.

“It will be $125 each time, and we will put a lien on the property,” said Cary.

Porter announced a new project by the Community Center Committee to start a twice-weekly sack lunch program in the park.

She said the goal is to help fill some of the food gap for children once the Shiloh School District stops home delivery of meals when the school year ends later this month.

“It’s for school age kids, but we won’t turn anybody away,” said Porter. “It’s a volunteer effort to help the community.”

The tentative plan is to begin serving the takeaway lunches during the second week of June, but like so many activities at this time it is difficult to say anything with certainty.

“It all depends on how this COVID stuff goes,” said Porter.