Esto Council talks water utility reconnection and late fees

The Esto Town Council set a flat $35 fee for reconnecting water utility services for customers during a Feb. 20 meeting.

“Previously, like two years ago or so, we had some disconnect and reconnect fees but we were not holding to them at all so there were no repercussions for people to pay their bill or not pay their bill and get their water disconnected,” Council Vice President Josh Davenport said. “We entstated a scaling fee that, now after seeing how it functions, is a little bit too harsh. It goes $50, $100, $150.”

The flat fee is also easier to run for accounting purposes, he said.

In related news, late fees incurred by customers in February have been rolled back. The late fee in Esto is $20.

“These people all ran water and I feel like it’s a natural event that people are trying to protect themselves from and I can see that being an argument,” Davenport said in reference to the recent cold snap, during which people were generally advised to run their water overnight to prevent pipes from bursting. “We’re thinking about a way to give them a little bit of a break.”

Both decisions are “fair,” Davenport said. 

In a Facebook announcement the day after the meeting, the Town of Esto said customers who already paid the late fee will receive a credit to their account.

“These measures are aimed at assisting our residents who may be struggling to make ends meet,” the announcement said. 

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