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City council writes off uncollected utility bills

by Dolores Hamilton
The Iowa Park City Council approved the write-off of $5,707.69 in uncollected utility bills Monday night.

These are bills that have not had any activity within the three-month period prior to Oct. 1, 2013 and are to be classified as uncollected and written off as bad debt.

The names of utility customers with uncollected bills will be printed in the Iowa Park Leader in the next week or two.

City Manager Mike Price said all of the unpaid bills are kept on file and the account is never forgiven. If a person whose water bill was written off applies for a new water connection, they have to pay the bad debt and the meter deposit is double.

Price said that during the past year, the city has collected $1,156 in previous bad debts.

In other business, the council discussed establishing a water rate for water-based commercial accounts.

“We have never set up a category for water-based accounts,” Price said. “We have two businesses at least, the laundromat and car wash, that have to have water to survive, and the new rates could force them to shut down.”

“People have to wash their clothes and they can’t wash their cars at home, so if they can’t do it here they are going to go out of town,” Price added.

Price was instructed by the council to work on a definition and rates for water-based commercial accounts and bring them back to the next meeting to be voted on.

In response to a request from Kristina Burns, representing the Relay for Life Committee of Iowa Park, the council approved a waiver of the city’s sign ordinance that prohibits advertising signs on the city’s public right-of-ways, and also the solicitation ordinance which prohibits the solicitation of donations upon a public right-of-way.

A resolution was passed prohibiting fishing to the general public at Lake Gordon from 10 a.m. on Oct. 16 until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, except for participants in the city’s FishFest event.

In addition, the council accepted the Iowa Park 4B Community Development Corporation’s operating budget for 2013/2014, with revenues and expenditures of $183,250.