By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The Water and Sewer Committee of the Havre City Council will meet next Tuesday at 7 p.m. to consider water billing complaints from local landlords.
At a City Council meeting on Monday night, committee chair Dana West said the committee will consider committee member Allen "Woody" Woodwick's suggestion that the city collect a water deposit to protect landlords from having to pay the water bills of tenants who waste water or leave without paying their bill. An ordinance on the books since 1997 makes landlords ultimately responsible for the water bill for rentals.
On July 23, Woodwick suggested the committee consider the deposit after several local landlords complained to the council and then to the committee about irresponsible renters. Woodwick said there is already a provision in the city's water billing ordinance that allows the city to collect a water deposit from renters.
West said the committee will also consider Havre Mayor Bob Rice's suggestion that it exonerate local landlord R. Cameron Worstell from $750 in city fees to repair a water line break on his property. Worstell has asked the city to pay for about $4,700 in damage he said city workers caused when they improperly terminated water to one of his properties in June. Rice said the city's insurance company will decide whether to cover the damage if Worstell files a claim.
The committee will also consider a suggestion to raise the fee the city charges to reconnect terminated water service from $15 to $30, West said.
Three other committee meetings were scheduled Monday night.
The Streets and Sidewalks Committee will meet at 7 p.m. on Aug. 18 to consider a proposal to put a large billboard on Fifth Avenue south of the fire station. The committee has referred the proposal to City Attorney Jim Kaze to determine if the sign is allowed by city law.
The Finance Committee will meet tonight at 6:30 for a city budget planning session. Committee chair Tom Farnham said the committee will discuss how to pay for an increase in health insurance premiums and will discuss the budgets of the city services like water, sewer, garbage and ambulance service.
The Labor Negotiations Committee will meet tonight at 7 as contract negotiations continue with International Association of Firefighters Local 601. Committee chair Jack Brandon said the city and the union will probably agree on ground rules for negotiations, and that the union will probably bring to the table a proposal for contract items like wages and insurance.