PIERCETON — The Pierceton Town Council met Monday, July 8, to discuss a water ordinance that is leaving some people less than pleased.
The board presented an ordinance pertaining to the town water utility. The ordinance was drafted because the town is losing money on people who “skip” town without paying their water bill. The ordinance states that a property owner, will be responsible for the property’s water bill.
Pierceton Town Board President Tom Barker read the ordinance aloud to those present at the meeting. One rental property owner present, Anna Bailey, asked the board, “Why do you let them (renters) go so late? You should have pulled the meter.” There were cries of, “You should have done your job.”
Town Attorney Jim Walmer told the landlords present that with the ordinance they would now be in control of the water, as it will be in their name. Before when a landlord rented their property, the tenant was responsible for the water bill, as it was in their name. If a tenant became behind on their water bill the town would take action, but that action could take up to 90 days, following Indiana State statute. If the tenant skipped town and left a large water bill, the town of Pierceton would take the loss.
It’s as simple as this: The tenant will no longer be in control of the water bill. It will no longer be in their name. If they do not pay their bill the landlord can go to the town and ask for the water to be shut off. They can do this because it is in their name, not the tenants. They have control. A landlord can request to have the water shut off even if the tenant is a week late with the water bill. This will prevent a “running up” of the bill.
It is up to the landlord to pay the bill, but they do have options for the tenant to pay that property’s water bill. They can raise the rent to cover the average amount of water the property uses a month, they can have the tenant reimburse them for the monthly water bill or they can have the tenant pay the bill to the town themselves.
If a tenant is late paying their water bill the landlord will get a late notice and they can take the appropriate action.
The ordinance has been tabled until the next meeting.
In other business:
- Fire Chief Gordon Baker presented July’s fire/rescue program reports. Fire and first responder runs were 6 in town, 22 in township, making a total of 32 runs and a total of 244 runs year to date.
- Baker requested to have Walnut Street shut down on Oct. 14, to put up a “bouncy house” during the Fire Prevention Open House.