Payback?

Who hasn’t forgotten to drop a utility bill off at one time or another in their lifetime?

The monthly waterbill was due to be paid by the 19th of the month and I hate to say it, but I forgot to drop mine off.  No problem, just drop it off in the morning right? It shouldn’t be a problem, or so we thought.

My wife and I asked a relative of ours if they would mind running by City Hall and paying the water bill for us in the morning.

I started my day off at 5:00 am, my wife started hers off at 5:30 am.  Money was left with our relative to go to City Hall and pay the bill, but when she got there at approximately 9:30 am the City Collector stated that an additional $20.00 was due  because my water had been cut off.

It is interesting that shortly upon leaving to pay the bill, the water was running, and after paying the $20.00 “reconnect” fee the water was still on at the house.

The relative told my wife this, my wife called City Hall and the Collector said, no problem just have her come back and get her $20.00, but when she did so, she was informed that the water had been “cut off”. Apparently Assitant City Administrator Shrum verified that it had been cut off, and a separate party that I contacted talked to the maintenance workers in charge of doing so, and they verified this.

I have no proof whether or not it indeed , had been cut off, so I just have to take their word for it, that being said, if it had been, it was definitely one of the biggest “cut off / reconnects” in City History.

The $20.00 really isn’t the point, I just wonder if my name being at the top of the cut off list, even before the bill could be paid, shortly after City Hall was opened, had anything to do with the front page of today’s “Banner Press” newspaper…

City Hall packed

City Hall "packed"

From today’s Banner Press Newspaper August 20, 2008…

“City Sounds Off on Water , Sewage rates”:

“City of Marble Hill public hearings were packed full Monday evening as residents filed into the small City Hall conference room to be heard on proposed raised water and weage rates. After a lengthy discussion between city officials and residents, the city council went into closed session to discuss water rates and decided to table the issue for a vote during the September meeting.

The raising of water and sewage rates was proposed by a study conducted by Smith and Company Engineers of Cap Girardeau, Mo. The results of the study recommended that the base water fee per 2500 gallons be raised  from $9.18 to $16.75.

Smith and Company also recommended that the base wastewater fee per 2500 gallons be raised from $9.18 to $18.50.

‘In the last four months we have found things that have been left for years’- Mayor Russel Masterson said…’Some of our sewer lines were put in by whomever built the house in whatever fashion they wanted to put them in and now in and now we have to fix them ‘ he said

‘ It’s been that way for years and now we’re being called on to deal with it’ , the mayor said.

Alderman Lacy rallied city residents to attend Monday night public hearings and let their voices be heard. Lacy said he’s not convinced the city has exhausted all efforts to fix the water problems either without raising rates or with the smallest inconvenience possible to residents.

” I believe our residents deserve better than what they are receiving “, he said.

Lacy said he’s researched grant money that is available for small cities such as Marble Hill. However, he said he’s not getting assistance from city employees that he needs in order to apply for grants.

“I have asked for help in filling out grants and cost estimates for grants and quite frankly I am not getting much help, ” Lacy said.

The story is pretty lengthy , but I think you can get the “jist” of it, so to speak. There is one other part of this story I would like to quote…

“As the city’s grant writer , city administrative assistant Gary Shrum couldn’t remember the last time he applied for a grant that would  assist in the repair, maintenance or replacement of city water or sewage lines…

‘ I think we applied in 2002, but I can’t be sure ,’ Shrum said.

Maybe it was the fact that I wrote an article urging everyone who is worried about their water and sewage rates to come to the public hearing and make their voices heard.

Or maybe it was something I said.

Another thought crosses my mind, how come my water is cut off, the very day that the report about the public hearings is on the front page of the paper?

Why is it that my neighbor has been waiting two months to have his culvert cleaned out?

When I ask why the city hasn’t cleaned out the culvert I am told it is because the city is “behind” on executing its work orders.

Yet there is no problem rushing to my home and cutting off my water before 9:00 a.m. and rushing back to “reconnect” it before 11:00 am?

Maybe it is all one big coincidence (and it could very well be), but what is on my mind is this; Are there any other residents of Marble Hill that are having problems dealing with City Hall?

If so please leave a comment on this post , or email me at: mobushwhacker@yahoo.com

Once again, many thanks to the citizens who cared enough to take a stand and make their voices heard, and to Candice Davis, Editor of the Banner Press, for reporting this event.

Clint E. Lacy

Alderman Ward I

Marble Hill, Missouri

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One Response to “Payback?”

  1. Dennis Says:

    Hey there! You still have water? 🙂 Give me a ring!

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