Council: Wages must pay water bill

Published 12:02 am Friday, November 14, 2014

After much discussion Thursday night, River Falls Councilman Gary Wages agreed to pay his outstanding water bill.

The matter was an item on the agenda at the request of Wages, who wanted to know why he owed the bill.

Wages said he requested a 2-inch water meter be placed at his business, Wages Market and Gary’s Café, a decade ago. At the time, Wages said he was told that if he did not use the meter, he would not have to pay a fee.

Wages said at the time, he paid more than $1,100 for the meter.

Wages said at the time he “T’ed” in a 1-inch line which he had been using, but said he never used the 2-inch.

“I’ve paid every bill and I’ve always paid ahead,” he said of his 1-inch meter.

In the spring, after a radio-read meter presentation, Wages asked if his 2-inch meter would be replaced.

Wages said Town Clerk MaryAnn Andrews said she didn’t know that Wages had that meter, so she sent a town employee who reads the meters to take a reading.

Based on a report shown to the council by Andrews, the meter had pumped some 22,600 gallons of water from the initial reading to the second reading, which was from April 14 until May 20, 2014.

Wages said his bill from then to now is $984, but he said he had a water leak.

The town charges a base fee for having a water meter, which was implemented earlier this year. The new municipal administration set those rates after an evaluation of rates by the Alabama Rural Water Association, which was part of the first increase in water rates since 2004.

Mayor Patricia Gunter said it is the council’s understanding that this is part of the rural water rules and regulations, that if you have a meter and access to it, you pay a set fee.

Gunter explained to Wages that another family had an agreement with the previous administration, but they are now paying for the access to their meter.

“I guess I know what I have to do,” Wages said.

After the meeting, Councilwoman Mattie Freeney said Wages would pay his bill.