August 1, 2011 by wcobserver
Mayor Proposes Water be Paid by Rental Property Owners
By Susan McCarthy
WEST FORK – Water losses continued to decline for the third month in a row, raising hopes that the worst of the water losses that has plagued the City of West Fork for a number of years may be under control.
Water losses for the month of June totaled 25.5 percent, Michael “Butch” Bartholomew told water commission members last Wednesday, July 13, in the first of their monthly meetings. Unaccounted water losses are the difference between what the City of West Fork purchases for sale and the amount of water it sells to its roughly 1,000 customers. Bartholomew has said in past meetings that his goal is to reduce water losses to 15 percent.
Water losses averaged over 30 percent in 2010. Losses were 34 percent in January and reached a high of 42.5 percent in March before the discovery of several leaks led to the first decline in March of this year.
“Leakage has been the biggest part of it,” Bartholomew told water commissioners, explaining that water loss can be attributed to a number of factors including storage tank overflows and malfunctioning meters.
During the water commission meeting, Mayor Frances Hime proposed that an ordinance that would require rental property owners to pay for water and pass costs on to their renters. The same report that tracks the city’s water losses, shows the utility has 131 past due accounts totaling nearly $17,000. All but about $109 of the past due invoices are over 60 days past due.
Hime said much of the utility’s overdue accounts are in rental properties and said she felt the utility would reduce its outstanding accounts by requiring property owners to pay for water. No action was taken regarding an ordinance during the July meeting.
Previously, Bartholomew has said that the utility is working with a collections agency to reduce the number of delinquent accounts.
Also, during the July 13 meeting, the water commission elected officers. The commission, which appointed two new members last month has a total of four commissioners and has been charged by West Fork City Council to appoint a total of five members. Virgil Blackmon will serve as Chairman, Joe Toher, Vice Chairman, and Mike Mitchell was re-elected to his position as Secretary.