Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

November 20, 2012

Water board modifies policy

By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Centerville municipal water work customers who rent when they moved would be charged a $10 disconnect fee under the water department's old policy.

The new renter would be charged a $10 reconnection fee plus deposit.

Water service in most cases would not be disconnected because many landlords would keep the water service anticipating the next renter.

After Thursday's Centerville Municipal Waterworks Board of Trustees meeting at City Hall, renters who move will no longer be charged a disconnection fee but a $5 read out fee will be added to their final water bill.

The new renter will no longer be charged a reconnection fee but would have to pay a deposit.

If the water is shut off, then a reconnection fee would be charged.

Disconnect and red tags are still an issue with the water department and now so are customers who come to City Hall to pay their delinquent water bills.

At Thursday's meeting the issue of how to deal with rude, hostile and threatening individuals who come to City Hall to pay their water bill was discussed.

"Our employees would go home in tears at the end of the day," Kim Crego, commissioner of municipal services and city clerk, said. "Because people were so aggressive and so hostile. They were just hostile."

Currently, during the two days red tag and disconnect water accounts are collected an officer with the Centerville Police Department has been present at City Hall.

"I have personally been called a thief because they didn't agree with what our policies are," water department billing clerk, Judy Green, said. "So, it kind of hurts."

Crego said water customers become very upset when they see the red tag or have their water shut off.

Green said the number of hostile water customers are few.

"Most of our customers are very nice people," Green said.

One option discussed Thursday was if things don't improve they would stop taking water bill payments at City Hall and require users to pay their water bill at retail locations like Hy-Vee.

In October, 23 water customers had their water shut off and as of Thursday's meeting still had their water turned off.

In October, 120 red tags were issued. A red tag means the customer is seven days late and costs $50.

If a red tag is not paid water service is disconnected.

Thursday's water board meeting lasted 40 minutes. The water board meets at 12 p.m. the third Thursday of the month at City Hall.