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SHUT DOWN: Lights out for past due utility bills

June 26, 2013

SOUTH WHITLEY — Two weeks ago, South Whitley Town Manager Dave Wilkinson informed town council members that numerous utility customers were delinquent 90 days or more.

An estimated $12,000 was owed in past due electrical bills. Town Council President Tony Starkey was “shocked” at the escalating amount.

“This is a big number,” Starkey said at the June 11 meeting. “We’ve got to get something in place that addresses this in a uniform fashion.”

Changes in municipality procedures have prompted South Whitley leaders to pen an ordinance specifically outlining disconnect policies as well as options for repayment.

Last night, council members voted to pass the ordinance that includes a provision for customers to have a hearing to possibly negate delinquent bills.

“I’ve put together this ordinance based on the previous discussion of terms and conditions,” said Town Attorney Greg Hockemeyer. “I think Dave was looking for something a bit more concrete on what he could and couldn’t do as the hearing officer.”

Previously, the town council agreed to make Wilkinson the hearing officer. In this capacity, he would make the decision on how a delinquent bill should be repaid.

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