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Elmo struggles with unpaid water bills

Staff writer

At Elmo's recent town council meeting, Mayor Kirt Rasmussen informed the council of the problems being incurred with overdue water bills. "We are working with the law firm Heugly and Olsen trying to recover the $6,000 owed us in unpaid water bills. To date, they have recovered nearly $4,000. There are still four people who are a concern," said Rasmussen.

Rasmussen stated if the city decides to file a complaint to take these people to court, the attorney charges will be $70 to draw up the papers, $30 will be needed for the sheriff's office to serve the papers, and when the case gets to court, the attorney charges $145 per hour. He requested the council's thoughts on the situation.

All of the council members were of the opinion the water bills should be collected. The town must pay the special service district for the water at the time of use and that makes the town the party who is out the money. As Elmo is such a small town with not a lot of tax base, this amount of money is not easy for the town to absorb. It has caused problems in other areas of the town's operation.

"Our attorney has recommended we pass a resolution to our ordinances stating we can turn the water off to those people who are past due on water bills. The proposed resolution states we can collect a reconnect fee, along with the unpaid amount before the water is turned back on. It will also make property liens a possibility," said Rasmussen.

The council approved to accept resolution 03-12-08 in order to attempt to recoup the overdue money.

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