Smithfield council talks late charges, fee hikes
SMITHFIELD -- In an effort to bring about positive changes for the fee schedule of 2003, the Smithfield City Council met Wednesday night to consider a few items to improve.
Dean Clegg, city recorder, alerted council members that many residents make late payments on their utility bills, resulting in 300 shut-off notices per year.
"It is the roughest day in the office when we have to do this," Clegg said.
Council members discussed the possibility of a $15 fee to be assessed to renters who continue to be 15 days late on payments each month. Homeowners, however, have three months until a shut-off notice is sent.
Hyrum charges $100 each time services are shut off and Logan charges $25 to reconnect before 4 p.m., after 4 p.m. the fee is raised to $45. Currently, Smithfield has no fee to reconnect services. In addition, approximately 45 of the 300 people that are sent notices actually get their services shut off.
Councilman Jeff Gittins, concerned about the fee, said he wondered if it was the best thing to do.
"I just have a hard time with this, everyone overlooks things once or twice," Gittins said.
The proposed $15 fee would not be assessed until July 1. The council discussed ways to set up direct deposit for payments. Clegg also mentioned that one family in Smithfield gets their services shut off every month.
"The problem is that so many of the habitual late payers have bounced checks and then it's just a cycle," Mayor Ray Winn said.
If approved, the fee will be announced in the city newsletter.
Other items of business included an increase in office research fees. Residents wishing to access public records in the Smithfield office will now have to pay a $15 fee. In addition, a $7 fee will also be applied to prepare police reports. An increase in annual licence fees for commercial businesses was also proposed.
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