Commissioners: Debt is ‘too much’ to carry

Last updated: August 25. 2014 5:42PM - 396 Views
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Madison County residents owe $90,000 in unpaid sanitary sewer bills — too much for county commissioners to carry on the county’s books for an extended period of time, according to officials.

So new regulations for operation of sanitary sewer operations in Madison County will carry some revisions to the collection of sanitary sewer bills.

Sanitary sewer department manager Tom Taylor and his assistant, Nathan Peters, presented a packet of new regulations to commissioners Monday. The board will review them and set another meeting to discuss the regulations with the sanitary sewer department.

Taylor said previous regulations had no enforcement power. Formerly, outstanding bills would be “carried” and then put on the real estate tax bill. During that time the service would continue.

“We’re carrying $90,000 and there’s no way to turn them off,” Commissioner Paul Gross said.

The late payment fee was 10 percent of the bill. It’s being suggested the percentage be raised to 18 percent.

Also, Taylor said when a customer’s bill becomes delinquent, the customer will have 30 days to pay up. If the bill is not paid at the end of the period, the service will be shut off.

Taylor said regulations will be posted on the department’s website.

Taylor also mentioned the department will be working with customers whose wastewater contain abundant amounts of grease and/or petroleum substances. He wants to monitor their flow into the system to determine a program to mitigate problems at the wastewater treatment plant.

Grease in the system causes a number of problems including clogs and compromising the effectiveness of the plant’s organisms, which are key to the sanitation process.

In other business:

• County auditor Jennifer Hunter and her assistant, Debbie Duffy, asked the commissioners’ help to a record storage issue.

The auditor’s office has some permanent records, which are stored in the basement of the sheriff’s office. But the area is plagued with excess moisture and mold is forming on the documents. It’s causing signs of deterioration.

A dehumidifier in the room is apparently not adequate to remove the excess moisture, and additional moisture from another area flows into a drain in the room, which is often clogged.

Gross suggested calling a dealer in industrial strength dehumidifiers to buy one to eliminate the excess moisture. A cost was not mentioned but Gross felt a unit could be secured “at cost.”

Commissioner David Dhume said when municipal court records are moved, auditor’s records could be moved to a more accessible location.

• Only one bid was submitted for the planned street work in Mount Sterling for a storm sewer, curbs, gutters and paving project on Church and Market streets.

The bid, from Shelby and Sands of Columbus, was $394,809. ME, the engineering firm which developed specifications on the project, estimated the cost at $290,000. ME will review the bid package and return to commissioners with its recommendation.

With the bid well over the 10-percent margin, Gross suggested Shelby and Sands of Columbus be contacted for potential negotiation.

Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1617 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.

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