The recent increase in fines from the Clinton Water Department may not be their most popular move, but it is proving effective.
The fine for a delinquent water payment was formerly $25, but earlier this year the water department increased the fine to $50 in hopes of getting better cooperation in timely payments. According to Commissioner John Wise, he says once people began realizing they were gettign fined, the amount of late payments have substantially declined.
The City's ordinance regarding the "turn on" and "reconnection" fees" has created some confusion. Because there were so many delinquent accounts, the water department could not reach each home on the list of homes to be turned off. Wise explains that ordinance was created to keep people who were delinquent but were not disconnected from being free of the fine. He says that ordinance is being worked on to make things more clear.
Wise has taken a lot of criticism recently because of the increase in fines. He says he stands behind his decision and he stands behind the work he does. He also answers his critics who say he is on a vendetta because he is not running for Clinton City Council again, to which he says, will in fact run again to see this through.
City officials have stated the ordinance was always in place, there was simplye a type-o with the information received and the information online, so the two numbers did not matchup. Every time the city posts a change in the ordinance or a new ordinance, there is a significant charge to make editions, so they make sure there are enough changes to warrant the charge.
Wise says they are looking into making payment options easier. They are also researching options such as online payments and taking credit cards amongst others.