Town examines utility deposits

Monday, September 18, 2006

Deposit increases for delinquent utility accounts have been looked over by the council during the Bainbridge Town Council meeting Wednesday.

Town clerk/treasure Jason Hartman informed the council that a discussion on utility deposits was brought up at the last month's utility board meeting. Hartman said that the deposits do not cover when someone moves out of the town or rents somewhere and just ups and leaves.

He also said the town has the potential of getting two months or better worth of utility services built up before those services are disconnected. "So a lot of the times, especially in the winter, the bills are substantial higher than the $200 deposit they have," said Hartman.

Hartman and Utility Supt. Jim Nelson came up with some solutions to control the problem. They did not want to penalize the good customers by increasing the deposits, but Hartman said the town has people moving back that were not so good of customers.

"We have been in the courts with (the bad customers) for several years," said Hartman.

Ordinance 2006-4 is just one thing to help the town recoup the money that once was lost.

The ordinance will doubles the deposits for the utilities. That means the deposit will increase from $200 to $400 for anyone who was a former customer that left town and did not pay off the bill within 90 days. If these former customers move back into town, they will be required to pay the $400 deposit plus any remaining balance.

Both Hartman and Nelson know that the former customers who come back are risks and that the ordinance does not guarantee that the town will recover everything.

The council approved the adoption of ordinance 2006-4 by a vote of 2 to 0,Barker of abstained. The final vote will be held during the public budget hearing on Friday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m.

In other business, the council:

-- Learned from Park Board President Jamie Tennis that the board has received qualifications for park planing grant from engineering firms. A meeting will be held to discuss the qualifications and create a recommendation on Wednesday, Sept. 20.

-- Learned about the new program Walking for Wellness, which tries to get the residents of not only the towns but the county to walk more. Registration for the 8-12 week county wide initiative will be held at the community center from 8-10 a.m. and 3-6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27. Preregistration is also available.

-- Asked Nelson to look at the basketball goal post on the east end of the court. The post is leaning, along with its guide wires. Smith said he wants court taken care of as soon as possible.

-- Learned that the utility board hired Ronnie Black as its new employee. Black was employed by Vectren Energy, so he does have experience. Black will be re-certified, along with Nelson, and will attend lineman school.

The council will have be having two special meetings this month in the community center to go over the proposed 2007 budget. The first meeting will be the public hearing on the budget on Friday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. The second meeting will be the adoption of the budget on Monday, Sept. 25 at 6 p.m. Both of these meetings are open to the public.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.

This meeting is also open to the public.

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