The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

May 8, 2013

Settling sewer bills: City moving toward plan to collect delinquent commercial bills

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"If you didn't pay your bill for six months, it wouldn't matter if it was a small customer at $50 a month or one that uses $100,000 a month. What matters is that you're six months behind," Gassman said.

The rule would only apply to commercial properties, not residential ones. Apartments are classified as residential if every unit has a meter and the tenants are responsible for paying the bills. To be considered commercial, the sewer bill is paid by the landlord.

Committee members discussed some commercial properties such as Miller Ridge Apartments, which has more than $380,000 in unpaid sewer bills, and the former Scrub Pub, which owed $41,000 in overdue sewer payments, as examples of overdue payments that have gotten out of hand.

"We're trying to get compliance before it gets to that point," Farwell said.

Building and Neighborhood Service Official Mike Harmon told committee members that informing business owners what could happen if sewer bills went unpaid would be effective, regardless of the amount or time limit established.

"Most enforcement is letting people know what could happen. And so, whatever the number is, if it's printed on the first bill and the second bill that you could lose your (certificate of occupancy), that's going to motivate people more than us actually having to go out and do anything," Harmon said.

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