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Lex council wants to improve unpaid utility rate

The Lexington City Council approved removing a little over $23,000 in unpaid utility bills to the City, some dating as far back as 2011. City Manager Joe Pepplitsch says about $20,000 to $30,000 in unpaid utility bills are written off the books annually after all efforts have been made to collect on them, include turning some over to a collections agency. City Finance Director Barb Hodges says unpaid utilities could include electricity, water, sanitation, sewer and the taxes associated with them. Hodges says her department also makes efforts to contact past due accounts by phone.

Mayor John Fagot said it costs the City time and money send disconnect notices. One of the Council Members suggested imposing a penalty on a past due customers before the disconnect notice. Council Member Jeremy Roberts said he didn’t think that would deter procrastinators but, felt it could at least recoup some costs. The City Administration and council members intend to look into possible options for keeping customers more current with their utility payments.

The Council approved a request to seek new proposals for entities to administer the City Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation grant. Dawson Area Development had previously held the contract but, was unable to continue the service due to change in personnel. Following the meeting, Pepplitsch estimated there were about a half-dozen housing rehabilitation projects completed or in the process. The Council also approved requesting the State of Nebraska to grant a one year extension of the current grant program.

The Council set a work session for August 26th.

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