MASON — Members of the Mason Town Council provided additional details of the proposed water and sewer rate increases, when they held their most recent meeting.
Attending were Mayor Donna Dennis, Recorder Harley Stewart, and council members Becky Pearson, Sharon Kearns, Marty Yeager, Sarah Stover, and Steve Ohlinger.
Subject to approval by the Public Service Commission and the required public meetings, the council will increase the water rates by 15 percent, and the sewer rates by 15 percent, over a two year period. According to Dennis, the raises will provide an additional $2,000 to $3,000 per month for the utilities.
The increases will begin in October 2020, with a 10 percent sewer hike. Water will increase eight percent in April 2021, the sewer another five percent in October 2021, and finally a seven percent raise to the water in April 2022. Once completed, the minimum bill for 2,000 gallons of usage will go from $58.31 to $66.35. A customer using 3,000 gallons per month will see the bill go from $77.92 to $89.02.
Council members emphasized the town’s utility bills are also increasing. The electric bill, for example, is $3,000 to $4,000 per month to operate the sewer plant alone.
Various police matters were also discussed at the meeting, including the recent resignation of Patrolman Austen Toler, who had not fulfilled the terms of his employment contract. It was told that Toler’s new employer, the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, reimbursed the town for the remainder of the contract at $1,688.89.
Applications have been taken for a new full time officer, and it was reported five took the physical agility test, with three passing. Following the interview process, Chief Colton McKinney said the candidates have been narrowed to two. The council gave the chief and Councilman Yeager the go-ahead to hire one of the candidates prior to the next meeting. Collin Hill was also hired as a part-time officer for one day a week, at a rate of $10 per hour.
In other action, the council:
Heard a report that the 2013 Taurus cruiser is currently being repaired, and will bring the police fleet to three vehicles;
Announced the business office and town park will reopen May 11;
Heard a report that police officers will be approaching all residents who are conducting open burning to make sure they have a permit, and issue a citation if no permit is presented;
Heard a report that officers will also issue citations to those not abiding by the trash ordinance;
Agreed to place a dumpster at the park;
Discussed erosion under the road on George Street, with Supervisor Aaron Woolard to investigate possible solutions;
Reported Walmart donated leftover plastic Easter eggs and supplies to the town;
Approved a building permit for Tonia Wolf for a deck on Pomeroy Street; and,
Discussed the Fourth of July and the uncertainty of being able to have a public celebration.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at email@example.com.