The Fillmore Town Council convened Saturday to discuss plans to hand over the community's leadership, but issues stemming from high water bills and a stinky sewer system continued to plague the lame duck council.
"If something isn't done about this problem, Fillmore is going to be a ghost town," said Tina Fiest, a resident of Westwood Road.
Fiest and her husband, James, vocalized serious concerns about the rising cost of the town's water, which has led to a string of foreclosures in the last year.
The family of four installed water saving showerheads and has been actively conserving water consumption for months, but their bills still average $167 per month. This week, they dug a well and have decided to go off city water all together.
However, independence from Fillmore's water supply may not be attainable. Council members cited a town ordinance requiring all residents in town limits to utilize the service. Though families may choose to dig a well, they will still be required to pay a monthly rate of $22.99 for water.
John Fiest says paying that bill is not an option after he paid $750 to hook up to the town's contentious water system. "If they make me pay, I will take legal action," he said.
Though no copy of the ordinance was on hand, the council pledged to have one at the ready for next months meeting, in addition to examining sewage bill discrepancies.
Fillmore resident Floyd Anderson raised further questions about the town's sewage lift station, located on property he donated to Fillmore.
"When I agreed to donate the property I was told that it would not smell," Anderson said. "I can't even open my windows … It stinks."
Anderson and several other West Wood Road residents have been complaining of the smell for more than a year, and there is serious concern that a pipe may have ruptured beneath another West Wood Road home.
The town council has attempted to treat the smell with chemicals, but not to the satisfaction of residents, who say that the recent spike in local water conservation has made the smell worse.
Council member Margaret Alexander says she has looked into the problem with contractors, but a solution may be out of reach.
"We could spend $20,000 to put in a scrubber," said Alexander, "but it's not guaranteed to work."
Regarding possible sewage leaks, Alexander and other council members resolved to hire contractors to place isolated smoke bombs into the sewage line on West Wood Road to determine if there is a leak.
In other business, the council announced that they submitted a capitol improvement plan to the county requesting funds for road repair. According to Clerk-Treasurer Maxine Davis, local funding for roadway projects ran out in May of 2007.
The current Fillmore Town Council will meet one more time, on Saturday Dec. 8, before passing the reigns to the community's new leadership, council members Wes Trehune, Jeff Osborn and Alan Jones in addition to newly elected Clerk-Treasurer Wanda Seidler.