3/15/2013 12:43:00 PM New Trier sets policy for disputed water bills
by Olivia Detweiler
The New Trier city council adopted a policy for disputed water bills at its March 11 meeting. The approved resolution gives a set procedure for residents who are disputing the correctness of their water bill.
Mayor Melanie Peters explained that the policy still follows the city ordinance, which gives the authority to the city treasurer to review the information and make a final decision about the complaint, but now there would just be a clear process.
"Our job as a council is to figure out what's the procedure," Peters said. "Are we just leaving this open to whoever our city treasurer is to deal with these or do we want to have a set procedure, so we can tell people, 'yes, you are able to dispute your bill. Here is the procedure.'"
The council agreed that it was comfortable with how Jeavonna Sutherland, the current city treasurer, was handling the disputed water bills, but it would be a good idea to have a consistent and clear process.
The approved resolution states that residents who dispute their water bill have a right to a hearing and can be represented by counsel. The dispute will be resolved within 30 days and during this time period finance charges would be suspended. If the outcome is in favor of the resident, the bill will be adjusted, finance charges will be waived, and any overpayment will be credited to the resident's account. If the outcome is in the city's favor, finance charges will start to be charged to the resident's account again once the dispute is resolved and the city will proceed to collect payment.
Loose Dogs and Cats
Sutherland brought to the council's attention the complaints about a resident's dog running loose around New Trier on a regular basis.
Mayor Peters drafted a letter addressing the issue. Peters said that if the council agreed, this could be the formal letter notifying any resident who has a dog or cat running at large.
The letter states that it is a violation of city ordinance for residents to allow their dog or cat to run at large. The owners must have control of their dog or cat by leash or by command. The letter also explains the impounding process of the animal if the ordinance is not followed.
The council members approved this letter as the city's standard response to dogs and cats running at large.
Annual Easter Egg Hunt
The council approved donating $100 to Patti Brown's annual Easter Egg Hunt. The event will be held on Saturday, March 30.