The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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April 17, 2013

City program would reduce watering costs

CLINTON — City officials plan to combine two existing watering exemptions to create a summer watering program.

The program will allow residents to receive a credit to provide relief from larger sewer bills they would incur because of increased outdoor watering during the summer months.

The new program would require residents to have a landscape or deduct meter that measures water use to an outside hose in order to receive a credit for watering. The customer would be required to buy the meter at his or her own cost and have the meter initially inspected by a city employee.

Residents with pools would not be eligible for the program. At Large Councilwoman and Internal Operations Committee member Jennifer Graf questioned the policy not to allow exemptions for pools because of a concern from a constituent.

Interim City Administrator Jessica Kinser during the IOC meeting Tuesday said the stipulation not to allow those with pools was based on the current policy as well as the estimated amount of credits the city would need to issue for pool filling if it granted exemptions from the no-pool rule.

"I'm afraid of the magnitude of what we would be getting in terms of credits relating to that because I know of quite a few who said they would be submitting if they have a pool," Kinser said.

The customer would be charged a $25 water credit fee annually, which would be processed at the same time as the watering credit.

Customers that would like to participate in the program could not have a bill more than 90 days past due. Also, a customer would not receive a credit greater than the minimum usage and the credit would be processed at the rate effective as of May 1 each year.

The customer would be responsible for filling out a card with the final reading on their meter and submitting it to the city no later than Nov. 30.

"We will be asking customers to self-report, which is what we do now. But we reserve the right to go out and inspect the meter to ensure that the reading that has been provided is correct," Kinser said.

The committee agreed to move the program forward to the Committee of the Whole.

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