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The Henrietta Board of Aldermen have found themselves in a tough spot. Continue to help residents who rent and go further into debt, or cut them off.
The latest dilemma involves a renter who opened her water bill to find a $934 bill after only living there for 10 days. 38,000 gallons of water used.
In the past, City Clerk Margie Long said the city would give the resident an adjustment on their sewer bill to account for a water leak. A leak was identified at the residence and has since been fixed; however the renter is the one stuck with the bill.
Long said she wants to help the resident, but the city’s sewer fund is in financial distress.
“Our sewer fund is already in the negative,” Long told the board on Saturday. “We don’t know how long we can run in the negative. We’re not in a financial state to keep giving adjustments.
“I feel very sorry for these people,” she added. “If I had a water leak I would want an adjustment too. This is a bad deal.”
Aldermen debated the fact of who should be responsible for the bill. Alderman Randy Russell said the landlord should be the one responsible.
“Someone should have to pay, it but it shouldn’t be her,” Russell said. “We’ve got to figure out something.”
In the meantime, the board decided to give the resident a minimum bill until a solution could be worked out.
Another resident last month also petitioned for an adjustment on a water bill because of a leak. His bill is more than $1,900.
The board decided to discuss the possibility of creating an ordinance to do yearly inspections on private water lines for leaks. The hopes are an ordinance could cut down on the amount of requests for adjustments. The board will discuss the matter at a work session on April 3.