M.C. Council approves shorter grace period for utility bills

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Milford Center Council recently approved an ordinance that will affect the billing, late charges and shutoff of water in the village.
At Monday’s meeting, council voted unanimously to approve a shorter grace period before water services are discontinued, as well as adding storm water services to water bills.
Council member Ronald Payne motioned to declare an emergency, as the ordinance amends one that was approved last month.
“These changes don’t affect the substance of what we did, they’re just tweaking it,” Payne said.
Council also voted unanimously to approve the emergency motion, which waives the second and third reading of the amendment and allows the ordinance to go into effect immediately.
As a result, the shutoff of water services will be pushed up. The village administrator will now issue a shutoff notice for any account that is not paid by the last day of the month. Water and sewer service will be discontinued if full payment has not been received by the tenth day of the following month.
Previously, water services were shut off two months after an account was left unpaid, but Payne said that allowed for too much leeway.
“That essentially would allow residents to just pay their bill six times a year,” he said.
If water services are discontinued, they may only be reconnected after an application is signed by the property owner. The owner will then be charged a $50 fee to reconnect water services.
Aside from payment deadlines, Payne said the services water billing include will also change.
The combined billing for each month’s water services will also include the fee for storm water management, regardless of if the resident is being provided other water services. This fee will be combined with charges for water used, sewer services and solid waste collection, which were previously included.
These charges should be issued on or about the first day of each month, according to the ordinance.
Lastly, if past due billings exceed three months, the village may file a lien with the county auditor. However, the storm water management fee will continue to be assessed to each residential or commercial unit even if water-sewer services aren’t currently being provided.
In other business:
– Council paid a $637 annual membership fee to join the Logan-Union-Champaign County (LUC) Regional Planning Commission. LUC Regional Planning Commission will be hosting a zoning training for village officials on Aug. 28, which Jim Lockwood, village zoning inspector, and several members of council will attend.
– Council member Terri Kean said she has reached out to several engineering firms in regard to developing a proposal for the installation of new water meters.
She said she has received one estimate of $24,750 to write a proposal, but is unsure if using an engineering firm is necessary because “it’s just replacement, not a whole new installation.”
She said she has also been in contact with John Cleek, a partner at Community Development Consultants of Ohio, Inc., who has encouraged her to apply for a neighborhood revitalization grant from the state.
From this point, Kean said they must conduct a door-to-door survey to see if the village is qualified to receive the grant based on resident income. Otherwise, council could apply for other grants or pay for replacement using funds from the village’s general water fund.



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