Increase on the Way for Callaway Utilities Deposit

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Callaway commissioners are searching for ways to erase some of the city's bad debt at the utilities department. The debt has been mounting, due to people not paying their utility bills, for a variety of reasons.

City officials are drafting a resolution that would increase customers' utility deposits from $135 to $250. That way it the customer fails to pay their final bill, the city keeps the deposit and should not lose money. The $250 is about the same amount as the average 2-month utility bill.

Mayor Thomas Abbott said "Typically we always bill a month behind so by the time if some doesn't pay the bill, they've got two months of taxpayer's funds tied up there and in order not to lose that, we want to adjust our deposit to cover an average of two months of bills. That's what this resolution is going to do; bring into line some of the costs of reconnecting after bills and things have been turned off for non-payment."

Commissioners also plan to increase the amount of the reconnect fee from $10 to $20. And if the reconnect takes place after normal business hours, it would be an extra $25.

All the proposed changes will go into effect in-time for the November billing cycle.

Abbott added "This is necessary in business because the utility department of a city's operation is business. You have funds involved and we want to protect taxpayer funds."

The commission also approved an evaluation process for the city manager. Each commissioner and the mayor will conduct their own annual individual in-person evaluation with the City Manager before the first commission meeting each December.