MONTESANO — Under a new policy adopted by the Montesano City Council on Nov. 12, residents will be responsible for paying their water bill, even if thousands of dollars worth of leaks are found.
The new policy doesn’t allow any kind of forgiveness for leaks that are clearly on the resident’s side of the property. Before, the city would forgive the occasional expensive bill that had been the result of leaks.
On a vote of 4 to 3, the new policy was adopted. Council members Pam McElliott, Lyle Powell, Pat Herrington and Ken Walkington voted for the policy. Councilmen Doug Streeter, Rich Klinger and Chris Hutchings voted against it.
Streeter said it would have made more sense to have at least a one-time forgiveness every five years. But he didn’t introduce an amendment to the original resolution and wasn’t in the majority to shut the policy down.
Pat Wadsworth, who owns property in Montesano, says he’s concerned because what if one of his tenants gets a water leak and doesn’t tell him? He’s stuck with a big bill. He notes a lot of people don’t know they have leaks until they see their bill.
Councilman Walkington said that it’s not the city’s responsibility to subsidize the bills of residents for leaks.
The council also established a separate policy unanimously that no longer allows residents to use fire hydrants for water purposes without paying a fee and seeking permission ahead of time. Firefighting training is exempt from the fee.