NEW HAVEN — The Town of New Haven council voted to hire a collection agency to recoup past due water and sewer bills, after members learned the amounts exceed $237,000.
This action took place at the most recent meeting, which was attended by Mayor Phil Serevicz, Recorder Becky Benson, and council members Roy Dale Grimm, Stephen Ohlinger, Jr., Jessica Rickard, Colton McKinney, and Steve Carpenter.
The mayor asked for a vote from the council members after he said it was learned some residents had not paid a water bill in over two years. Several other residents reportedly left town owing bills and later moved back, receiving new service without paying the past due amounts.
Serevicz said the town can only collect past due bills from the last 10 years. The town will look into finding a collection agency to work with the council.
Also, the mayor said the town will once again be getting credit cards. One will be issued to him, another to Supervisor Buzzy Duncan, and the final card will be kept in the town hall office.
Serevicz said formerly, thousands of dollars were charged on the cards each month. When the administration took office in August, no receipts or paperwork itemizing the purchases could reportedly be found. Benson has contacted the credit card company and is working to get detailed invoices of purchases made on the cards. It was also mentioned the town is next in line for an audit by the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office.
The mayor reported on the quest for a new garbage truck. He said Duncan has found a new model for $131,000 that would not require a CDL licensed driver.
A grant would pay 35 percent of the cost, with the remainder to be financed at two percent interest. Serevicz said there is a problem with the financing, however, because the bank statements have not been reconciled for years. The town is working to bring the accounts into balance.
Seth Gaskins, a candidate for prosecuting attorney, attended and introduced himself to those attending. He also answered questions from the residents.
In other action, the council:
Agreed to have newly hired office workers Kelly Gilland and Molly Fisher added to the bank accounts;
Approved a building permit for Irene Murphy for a porch on Butler Street;
Heard reports from residents regarding street lights that were not working, roads in disrepair, and a speed limit sign that had fallen and not been replaced;
Agreed to install a drain on upper Fourth Street near the home of Paige Gerlach;
Discussed drivers speeding near the elementary school and how to resolve it;
Agreed to buy out an existing contract with a copier company and eliminate the service contract;
Approved a $23,043 drawdown for the water upgrade project;
Agreed to raise employee Braden Weaver’s rate of pay from minimum wage to $10 per hour;
Accepted the resignation of employee Jordan Stewart; and,
Heard from Police Chief Dave Hardwick, who said he had ordered a new router, cruiser spotlight, and other supplies.
The next regular meeting will be Nov. 9 at 6 p.m.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.