Lien possible on unpaid utility bills

By Amanda Collins

The Stuart Town Council discussed nearly $20,000 of unpaid utility bills at their Nov. 21 meeting.

Town Manager Terry Tilley said that he will call other surrounding localities to determine the amount they require for a utility deposit and present those figures to council at the next meeting.

Susan Slate, Clerk/Treasurer, said the current deposit isn’t enough to cover outstanding bills. Slate said town officials may want to revisit the 75 days limit to pay or increase the fee.

Currently, the town charges a $15 fee to shut off water, then another $15 fee for hookup.

Chris Corbett, Town Attorney, said that if council advises him to, a lien can be taken out on any customer that has an outstanding balance, especially the ones that have had utilities cut off.

Tilley said that property owners renting houses out have been told that the utilities will not be cut back on until all outstanding utility bills have been paid. If a renter picks up and leaves, the property owner is responsible to pay the outstanding bill.

Other items discussed at the meeting:

  • Tilley said that five or six contractors attended the pre-bid meeting for the Stuart Volunteer Fire Department project. He said he let them in the building, and that bids are due on Thursday, Nov. 29. Tilley asked council if they wanted to have a special called meeting shortly after Nov. 29 to discuss the bids received. Mayor Ray Weiland said there are 60 days to get it taken care of and the contractor will have 180 days to complete the project. Weiland said that the project should be done by the end of summer.
  • Tilley said that repairs to the glass in the caboose have been completed, but not repainting. He hasn’t had time to have it washed because of the weather.
  • Tilley said that the Spooktacular attracted a large crowd and “everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves.”
  • Weiland said that the Grand Illumination is set for Friday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. on Main Street for a Hometown Christmas. It will be “another great night on Main Street,” Weiland said. “The next day will be the Christmas Parade and the Mistletoe Market.”
  • The council approved to pay The Lane Group contingent upon receiving the revised plans showing 50 percent as previously discussed in a meeting with Kevin Heath.
  • Council met in closed session to discuss a real estate issue.
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