12/06/2010 Town Council Study Session & 12/09/2010 Council Meeting – Highlights

(Note: Please read "Mea Culpa" before reading this post.)

GILBERT RANKED SAFEST CITY IN ARIZONA
Mayor John Lewis reported that Gilbert has been ranked the Safest City in Arizona, and the 17th Safest City in the USA.

This is true in spite of Council Members Abbott, Crozier, Presmyk, and Sentz telling the public, “Gilbert is faced with the reality of having to dramatically cut the level of service in our public safety, or to ask our citizens to support a 00.25% increase in sales tax.”

On 5/18/2010, the voters of Gilbert didn’t believe them, and they said NO to that tax increase, and the Council did not cut the level of service in our public safety. How could they if Public Safety is their Number One Priority?

INCREASE IN UTILITY FEE DEPOSITS
“A tax by any other name is still a tax.”

1) New residents will start paying a $200 utility deposit (up from $100). The maximum deposit will be 2.5 times the average utility bill, for residents who have a history of 3-5 disconnects/reconnects either in Gilbert, or from previous residences.

Vice Mayor Les Presmyk asked Ms. Nieves, Utility Billing Administrator, “At what point is the deposit returned?” She explained that if the resident pays on time for 12 months, the deposit is applied to the 13th month of service.

Les then asked, “Have we looked at the possibility of holding the deposit”? Ms. Nieves remarked that Staff thought it would be unfair to longstanding reliable customers to hold the deposit indefinitely.

Right Les. Why not hold the deposit until the resident is dead and gone? The heirs won’t think to ask for it back.

2) There will be higher fees for optional after-hours service. As explained by Ms. Nieves, the after-hours service requested by residents is more for the convenience of the customer and is rarely an emergency.

Public Hearing set for 2/10/2011 to be effective 3/14/2011.

AMENDING CODE TO CHAPTER 66 UTILITIES OPERATIONS, RELATING TO UTILITY BILLING.
In an effort to put more bite into the Town’s ability to collect delinquent accounts, the Town will now require the owner of a property/landlord to enter into an agreement with the Town on behalf of the renter for their utility service. All existing accounts under the name of the owner/landlord must be current before new service will be initiated for a new account. Approved 7-0.

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