The Washington Times-Herald

November 14, 2013

Loogootee city council hears appeal

By Tim Pinkham Times Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — LOOGOOTEE – For the second straight month, a Loogootee homeowner appealed to city officials that their monthly water/sewage bill was way too high.

On Tuesday night, Jeremy Carrico told the Board of Public Works and Safety his monthly bill averaged $90 to $110. He disputed his last bill’s claim that he had used 7,800 gallons of water for the month. He was requesting a utility adjustment.

Carrico said he and his wife are the only ones in the home and he has all new energy-efficient appliances. He said numerous checks under his home have shown no sign of a leak.

Department of Works Superintendent Bo Wilson said the national average for daily water usage is 80 gallons per person. For two people, that would equal 160 gallons per day or 4,800 per month.

Although Carrico had requested another water meter be installed, Wilson was opposed to it. Wilson said Carrico’s meter had been installed in 2008 and was tested two years ago. The superintendent said the meters are designed to last for more than one million gallons, so this one has only reached about a quarter of its capabilities.

The board unanimously agreed to put a new water meter in Carrico’s home. No action will be taken on Carrico’s request for an adjustment until readings from the new meter have been determined.

At the Oct. 14 meeting, Loogootee resident Ed Greenwell complained to the board about his latest water bill.

While he averages $52 per month based on 3,200 gallons of water, his latest bill was for $178 based on 10,000 gallons.

Like Carrico, Greenwell had said his home’s plumbing had been inspected and no leaks were found.

Wilson had said he had no explanation for the one-month spike in water usage, agreeing there was no evidence of a water leak. He also said the water meter appeared to be working normally, as last month the water usage had returned to its normal level.

City officials told Greenwell they were not allowed by state law to adjust the water portion of the bill, but did agree to adjust the sewage portion of the bill.

In other business, the board agreed to hire a fifth full-time police officer, who will help provide coverage of the city 24 hours per day.

During the City Council meeting following, the members agreed to commit $50,000 in Economic Development Income Tax revenue in 2014 to the proposed new Loogootee city pool.

However, there is a catch. Mayor Noel Harty said fundraising efforts have reached $50,000 toward a goal of $500,000. He said if the fundraising goal is reached, the city will then pitch in with its $50,000.

While various small fundraising efforts on behalf of the pool are being conducted each day, a major event will be held Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. at Lee Kavanaugh Gym, Church Street. Tri-State Wrestling will present numerous matches, with all proceeds to benefit the pool fund. Admission will be $5, with children age 4 and under free.

In other business, the council accepted the low quote of $12,500 from Midwestern Engineers to review the city’s five-year comprehensive plan.

Former Petersburg mayor Jon Craig, a client administrator with Midwestern, attended the meeting.