Board of Aldermen pass $2.55 water rate hike

By BRENT MAZE,

The Newton Board of Aldermen approved a $2.55 base water rate hike that will take place effective July 1.

This was one of the changes to the city’s water ordinance, the changes of which can be read in its entirety in today’s legal section. Another rate hike of $2.55 will take place on July 1, 2019, according to the ordinance.

The changes also included updating policies regarding disconnection of service. Those changes include the following:

• Any customer whose service has been discontinued may have his water service resumed by paying all water charges due plus a charge of $35 for reconnection service. A charge of $30 shall be assessed to any delinquent customer whose water service has been reconnected without city authorization. For each subsequent unauthorized reconnection, there shall be a charge of $50.

• Anyone who knowingly makes or causes to be made, any connection to the water system, tampers with or in any way interferes with any equipment connected with the city water system shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction, be fined between $25 and $300 for each such offense.

• A service charge of $5 for each trip water department employees make to any meter for the purposes of cutting water on or off will be assessed. No service charge shall be assessed for trips made by City Employees to repair or maintain meters.

• Customers who have had water service cut off and have not used any water for an entire billing cycle shall not be charged for that billing cycle, other than a capital improvement fee of $2.50 as provided in Section 12 of Ordinance No. A-185.

The ordinance passed 3-1 with Michael Hillie voting no.

In other business, the board:

• Heard from ESCO about proposed ad valorem tax exemptions.

• Approved a lease with Verizon to add a service tower in downtown Newton.

• Purchased a one-eighth page ad in the Newton County Appeal’s first responders section.

• Talked about annexation to Midway Road north of town. Check next week’s edition for more on this story.

• Applied for a small municipalities grant.

• Agreed to allow the hiring of part-time workers for the purpose of cutting grass along city roads and picking up trash.

• Received an update on the status of noise ordinance signs.

• Agreed to send a courtesy letter to the owner of a structure at 415 Decatur Street for failure to keep the grass cut.

• Accepted the resignation of Danielle Shoemaker from the police Department.

• Will purchase transmission for a patrol car.

• Received an update for the pit-bull situation on Tillman Street.

• Discussed purchasing turnout gear and air packs for the fire department.

• Paid the claims docket totaling $115,759.97.

• Received an update on the property at 205 Bingham Street.