Como Utilities

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 16, 2012

Utilities spur special Como meet

By John Howell Sr.

Como’s mayor and aldermen will hold a special meeting Monday at 6 p.m. to consider several utility questions.

The town officials made the decision to hold a “work session” after municipal clerk Kara Killebrew passed out copies of a water customer’s bill whose “meter was being neglected,” she said. “When Mr. Mitchell went and read the meters he, of course, got a true reading which then skyrocketed the bill,” she told the elected officials. Alderman Bill Mitchell had accompanied the regular meter reader during his rounds, she said.

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Discussion among the elected officials indicated that a municipality is not allowed to forgive an amount it is owed, but payments can be spread over a number of months.

“Have there been several meters that haven’t been read?” Alderman Clark Gregory asked.

“Yes, quite a few,” Killebrew replied.

“Whatever we do for this, we have to do for others as well,” Alderman Forster Ruhl said. “I’m sure that the Public Service Commission is familiar with cases like this where a meter has been neglected for some time,” Ruhl continued. “… I’m sure that there are rights that the customer has that municipality needs to be aware of. I think we ought to let these people pay their usual bill until we find out what the normal course of action is, according to the Public Service Commission.”

“There are several people not getting a bill at all,” Gregory said. “The town is losing a lot of money,” he said.

Other issues expected to be discussed during Monday’s special meeting include application of water rates to customers outside town limits, Como’s garbage contract with the county and the municipal fines schedule.

Earlier during the November 13 meeting, the town clerk gave a detailed report on activities since she took the job in early October, including:

• Mailing of privilege license renewal notices to Como businesses;

• Progress in her certification training as municipal clerk and pending registration elections training scheduled for December;

• The opening of three new businesses in Como;

• Creation of e-mail accounts for the municipal clerk, town clerk and for contact with the mayor and aldermen ( “I’ll be more than happy to forward it or print it and make sure they are aware of it,” Killebrew said.

• Acknowledged receipt of donations of $200 for the Como Park Fund “to help defray the cost of utility or the cost of lights in the park

The town clerk also asked the board to establish the 22nd of the month as the date by which payment for utility bills must be made before service is cut off. She also asked the elected officials to set a reconnect fee.

On behalf of municipal court clerk Bertha Jones Killebrew asked that she be allowed to purchase additional training resources through the LEAP (Law Enforcement Assistance Program). Earlier during the meeting, Police Chief Fred Boskey had attributed a significant increase in collection of fines owed to Como to Jones’ use of LEAP-provided material.