City talks excessive water use program … again

By: 
Wade Young

Less than a year after they eliminated the one-time modification program that reduced  a resident’s high water bill due to a system malfunction, the Montgomery City Council was discussing the issue again on Monday.

 

The issue was back on the council table after a Montgomery resident questioned last month why a request for a modification had been granted in May after the program had ended, when their request was denied months earlier. 

In a split decision, the council voted in May to approve a water bill modification for a home on 4th Street. Over the winter, the gas was shut off to the property and a water pipe broke that resulted in a water bill of approximately $7,400. Gordy Prochaska, who has the power of attorney for the elderly property owner, asked the council to reduce the bill to $4,000 so the owner could pay it in full. 

 

The council discussed the issue and passed the modification with a 3-1 vote, with council member Dennis Lambrecht casting the opposing vote. Council Member Mick McGuire abstained from the vote, stating that he did not agree with solution.

 

However, in November, 2017, Edward Atodaca and Lisa Blaschko approached the council about their water bill that had soared to $1,400 for one month last summer. They asked for some relief on their bill and were approved for a payment plan at a council meeting on November 20. The payment plan was what the Public Utilities Committee (PUC) had recommended, and the council approved, to replace the one-time modification program.  

 

At their work session, the council was split on how to proceed. McGuire said the modification had been created to help people because the city’s water rates were already so high. He was in favor of sending the idea back to the PUC to revisit and redraft a new program.

 

Mayor John Grimm agreed with McGuire’s suggestion.

 

Read more in the print edition.

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