LEBANON JUNCTION — City residents are one step closer to paying a higher water deposit after the Lebanon Junction City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance last Monday that would increase the current fee $45.
The ordinance calls for the current deposit to be raised from $80 to $125 and would still require a $5 non-refundable application fee. Customers will receive their deposits back after service is discontinued if no outstanding balance is due the city.
The council began discussions of increasing the fee — which hasn’t been altered since 1983 — after Lebanon Junction property owner Dan Thibodeaux expressed his concerns that landlords were being stuck with tenants’ unpaid water bills.
Thibodeaux said at a previous council meeting that landlords shouldn’t have to pay for a service they weren’t receiving, and that city council should vote to increase the deposit so that it would be enough to cover two average monthly bills. Generally a non-paying customer’s service is discontinued after two consecutive bills remain unpaid, according to City Clerk Susan Crady.
“It’s been a few days,” City Attorney Mark Edison joked about the last time the council adjusted the water deposit fee.
Council members had little discussion about the increase in November, which many believe is a needed step. However, councilman Ozzie Maraman and Mayor James “Butch” Sweat have both previously shared their disapproval of raising the deposit. Maraman said at October’s council meeting that he believed the deposit amount should remain unchanged.
The council will hear the second reading and vote on the ordinance at its Dec. 7 meeting, 7 p.m. at City Hall on Main Street.
In other business:
*Lebanon Junction Old Fashion Days Committee member Allie Phillips said that the city’s first Dare to Care mobile food bank distribution was hugely successful.
She said more 126 people were served and that volunteers to help run the food bank were still needed.
The Dare to Care mobile food bank caters to Lebanon Junction residents and is held the third Thursday of each month from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The food distribution is held at the Lebanon Junction Community Center at 123 N. Poplar Street.