• 88°

Town OKs late fee changes

By By BARBIE MORSE BURNETTE, Staff Writer
CHOCOWINITY – Paying late may mean paying more under the new billing terms set forth for water and sewer usage which were approved Tuesday night by the town's Board of Commissioners.
Currently, water and sewer bills are sent out on the first of each month and are due by the 10th.
The board agreed Tuesday night to consider a bill past due if it is not paid by the 25th of the month – at which time a $10 late fee, down from $20, will be charged.
Customers whose water is disconnected due to nonpayment also now will be charged a $25 reconnection fee. Previously, there had been no charge to residents for reconnecting the service.
Reconnections will be done only during business hours, the board agreed. As part of the new policy, the board also agreed to mail out letters to residents informing them of the changes.
The new policy will take effect June 1.
The new fee is not intended to make money for the town, said Mayor James Mobley, but is an effort to eliminate disconnecting residents' water and sewer service.
"We don't like to cut off anyone's water," Mobley said.
The town averages 15 water and sewer disconnections a month, said Town Clerk Joy McRoy.
Mobley reminded residents the town is now equipped to draft customer bank accounts for the amount owed on water and sewer bills.
In other business, Police Chief Todd Alligood reviewed the town's ordinances and provided a revised and updated version to the board Tuesday night.
Although not legally required to do so, the board agreed to hold a public hearing on the ordinance changes next month to allow the public an opportunity to respond.
Alligood also received support from the board to apply for new corporate-sponsored police vehicles from Government Acquisitions Inc.
The purpose of the organization is to provide vehicles for government agencies throughout the nation with corporate sponsor recognition.
According to the agency's Web site, the new program allows any appropriate sponsor (no alcohol, tobacco, firearms, gaming or any other inappropriate sponsor) to advertise on government vehicles. The companies contract with Government Acquisitions for advertising, and Government Acquisitions donates the fully-equipped vehicles to the government agencies, eliminating any potential conflicts of interest.
Simply put, Alligood said, "The government agencies get free cars, and the corporations get free advertising."
Alligood said he would apply for the program and provide the board with additional information if the department's application is approved. The department is not obligated to participate in the program, even if accepted, Alligood added.
In other town news:
The Chocowinity Board of Commissioners meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building.
Barbie Morse Burnette may be reached by telephone at 940-4212 or via e-mail at barbie@wdnweb.com.