The Paradise City Council approved three motions Monday night that were later nullified after council members consulted with City Attorney Walt Leonard.
The motions made were in response to public outcry over a recent disruption in water service. In September, water services were disconnected for 26 people following non-payment. Some of the citizens affected complained their bills had not arrived on time.
Currently, Paradise mails out water utility bills on the first of each month and payment is required by the 15th. After the 15th, a late fee is charged and payment is then required by the end of the month or water services are shut off.
According to the city, materials required for the billing process were not delivered to the city secretary Teresa Moody on time and bills were sent on the 15th. Late fees were waived but final payment was still required by the end of the month.
Several complained their water was shut off without enough notification and couldn’t be turn back on for 24 hours. The current process for shutting off water is to do so at the end of the city’s business day. It can turned back on the next day after 3 p.m.
The reason for the 24-hour delay is that the city does not employ water service personnel, but instead shares one part-time person through an agreement with the Walnut Creek Special Utility District.
In response to these complaints, councilmen Brad Largent and Bill Schneck suggested adjusting the time of cutoff and adding a part-time employee to return services immediately upon payment. They also suggested the city send out a final letter informing customers their services would be stopped for non-payment.
Paradise accepts payment via check, money order or online debit.
Motions to enact those changes were made and voted on, but since they were not specifically on the agenda, they were later invalidated. November’s agenda will have a properly worded item to allow the council to discuss and vote.
- The council approved street closures for a church-sponsored fall festival this Sunday and PISD’s annual Jingle Run Dec. 7.
- Paradise city staff was authorized to negotiate a right-of-way agreement for construction of Dollar General.
- The renewal of the road repair interlocal agreement with Wise County was tabled, citing needed clarification on whether any services will be rendered by the county.
- The council also tabled any discussion on altering what day it meets. Steel suggested the meeting return to Thursday nights. Council meetings were changed to Monday nights to accommodate Schneck’s schedule, but he plans to leave the council at the end of the year.
- The council requested information on possibly hiring a code enforcement officer or police officer. The council wanted to understand what cost they would incur and whether a court would be needed to enforce the officer’s actions.