Tipp City Council OKs fee changes


By Amantha Garpiel

For Miami Valley Today

TIPP CITY — The Tipp City City Council passed an ordinance, at the first regular council meeting of April, amending the city’s schedule of fees to include solar application fees and additional utility billing fees, approved the purchase of a puller/tensioner for the electric department and were presented two ordinances for public hearing at the next regular session meeting.

During the council meeting on April 1, the council approved an ordinance to allow a $250 fee to review behind meter generation applications. This fee is to help the city pay for the fee of the consultant reviewing the applications on behalf of the city.

The second half of the ordinance, for additional utility fees, is a monthly $50 fee that can be added to a customer’s utility bill after three attempts to schedule an appointment to view, investigate or change out a meter with no results.

According to city staff, the $50 fee may be beneficial in moving the city’s AMI project forward as the project requires changing out every electric and water meter.

Multiple concerns were raised at the meeting by Council President Kathryn Huffman and Council Member Ryan Liddy regarding the attempts to contact citizens, documentation of the attempts and any contact made and the unclear language of the ordinance.

The plan is for the city to send out postcards to each citizen in Tipp City notifying them that they need to schedule an appointment to have their meters changed. A series of three postcards will be sent to each citizen. If the city does not receive a response to the postcards, a call will be made to attempt to contact them. If an appointment is still not scheduled, the citizen will receive a warning of the additional $50 fee being added to their bill.

One question posed by Liddy was, what should happen if a citizen chooses to pay the fees rather than allow the city access to their home to change the meters. According to city staff, under the city’s ordinance, they do have some power to potentially disconnect customers who do not schedule an appointment.

“The language, as written, is a very low bar to simply start adding a $50 fee in my opinion,” said Liddy.

Huffman agreed, stating that she would be more comfortable with documentation of actual communication with the customers who may incur a fee. Her main worry was that this plan will be starting towards the end of May when many people are on vacation and might not receive the notices.

Ultimately, the ordinance passed in a 5-2 vote with Huffman and Liddy voting against the ordinance.

Council then unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the city manager to purchase a puller/tensioner to help install overhead and underground electric lines from PB Loader Corporation, through Sourcewell Cooperative at a cost not to exceed $164,431.

Lastly, council heard the first reading of two ordinances set for public hearing at the next regular session meeting.

The first was an ordinance amending the zoning code and map by changing the zoning of 1400 W. Main St. from highway business interim to general business zoning classification.

The second, was an ordinance authorizing the city manager to enter into a contract with JNZ Rentals LLC to sell a portion of the Broadway Street right-of-way to be used by JNZ Rentals LLC for private parking.

The next regular session meeting of the Tipp City City Council is set for April 15.

The writer is a regular contributor to Miami Valley Today.

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