Troy City Council changes

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 1999

utility billing procedure

By MICHELLE WILSON

Staff Writer

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Published Sept. 17, 1999

Besides taking its first look at the 1999-2000 fiscal year budget, Troy City Council amended the utility ordinance at its meeting Tuesday.

The council passed Ordinances 166 and 167, which concern utility billing procedures. The changes involve the deposit schedule, delinquent fees, return check policy and administration of billing procedures.

Under Ordinance 166, residents and businesses will continue to get their utility bills in the mail around the first of the month. The bill will continue to be due on or before the 10th of each month.

If the bill is not paid on time, a late payment fee totaling $7 – $5 for electricity and $2 for water – or five percent of the total bill, whichever is greater, is added to the balance. If the property owner does not pay the bill by the 20th of the month, he is issued a nonpayment fee of $10.

The ordinance extends utility cutoff to the third day of the following month. At that time, the power is disconnected, and the account is assessed a $25 reconnection fee – $20 for electricity and $5 for water.

The change will not affect utility rates.

The council changed the nonpayment fee from $20 as was originally proposed to $10 in response to citizen concerns voiced at its last meeting. The change should go in effect in December.

"We will try this for a year or two and hope it improves collection procedures," Lunsford said. "I commend the council for listening to citizens and coming up with a fair compromise."

In other business, the council passed Resolution 408, a bid award for drainage improvements. Through the Watershed Protection Program, USDA is giving $40,000 to repair problem drainage areas in District 3.

Jason Reeves, the district’s council member, thanked Randy Hale of the Soil and Water Conservation Department for his work on the project.

Resolution 408 awarded drainage improvements at the Housing Authority Complex to H&L Construction of Troy, which bid $87,775. The Housing Authority agreed to come up with the difference of $47,775, and the city will furnish an in kind service of inspection and design.

Troy business man George Balmer, who owns Balmer Automotive, complained to council members about the Waste Management franchise and the city’s towing procedures.

Balmer said he is displeased with the fee his business is charged for garbage removal and asked the council to assist him in the matter. Witherington said the council will look into his complaint.

The city is not responsible for garbage pick up at businesses, Witherington said. Company owners must contract with the area’s three industrial waste disposal firms – Waste Management, Dunning Industries and BFI – to dispose of their garbage. It is up to the individual businesses to negotiate the rates they pay for the service.

Balmer said he is also concerned towing of wrecked vehicles is not being distributed evenly among wrecker services in Troy, and asked council to take care of the perceived problem. He said he had spoken to council about this issue before.

Witherington said the Troy Police Department uses a rotation system to tow vehicles when it is needed. If a car owner does not specify a towing company, the jobs are given to area tow businesses in rotating order.

Lunsford said the city followed up on Balmer’s towing concern last time he spoke about it and would do so again.

Council approved Ordinance 168, a request for rezoning. The ordinance rezoned a property located on Pecan Street from R2 medium density residential to M1 light industrial. It is owned by Whaley Pecan Company.

No one commented at the public hearing prior to the council’s vote on the ordinance.

Council approved Resolution 409, which allows grant money from the Law Enforcement Planning Agency awarded to Big Brothers Big Sisters program to flow through the city. No match is required by the city, and it is serving as "a conduit agency," Lunsford said.

Council appointed Ann Williams to the Troy City Council on Arts and Humanities.

No action was taken on Ordinance 170 – a proposed amendment to the city’s cable franchise ordinance.