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July 25 Council meeting looks again the public works, votes on utility payments

Water quality testing kits used by the Molalla Public Works Department.While it seemed the day's heat penetrated the July 25 Molalla City Council meeting, everyone seemed in a good mood.

One of the highlights of the meeting was a test given by Public Works Director Gerald Fisher regarding the wastewater project. The test showed June and July samples of water from the Molalla River and water from the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Councilors were asked to determine which were which.

It wasn't very hard, the raw water was yellow in both June and July and there were various sites with Xs in them. It also didn't look very palatable. The treated water was clear and contained no Xs, whether it was Class B or Class C. While the city is currently obligated to produce Class A wastewater, the plant is unable to do so. The reason they have asked for Class C is sometimes there are hiccups and rather than paying a penalty for each hiccup when they typically produce Class B, this will save the city money.

Fisher also noted that his department currently is having the biosolids from the lagoons removed. "The project is moving along," he said. He also noted that the department is upgrading and organizing the inventory system. "We are getting rid of old stuff and finding materials we can use as well as using the materials we have on hand."

One item that was found was a roller that is being tested for runs at trench passing. And various pipes were found that the city can really put to use, he said.

Council members also finally voted for utility payments noting that all charges for utility services are due on the 16th of each month. A late fee will be assessed for payments that are delinquent and customers will receive a notice the bill is delinquent and the amount needed to eliminate the delinquency. Utility service to the property will be cut off 20 days after the date of the notice unless the bill is paid in full, including late fees.

Once terminated customers also will have to pay a disconnect/reconnect fee.

Customers can request in writing a one-time emergency extension of payment (not to exceed 10 days) to avoid service being shut off and a disconnect fee being charged. A default of the agreement will result in a shut off the next morning after the agreement expires. Customers also can request a waiver of the late fee in writing if no other late fees have been assessed during the past 12 months.

Customers also can appeal a disconnect notice by filing a written request for an informal hearing within 15 days of the notice. The appeal will be filed with the city manager and must specify the reasons for the appeal. The city will give customers reasonable notice of the date of the hearing and service won't be disconnected before the hearing. Customers can be represented by an attorney, any probative evidence can be heard. The hearing can result in a disconnect or be overruled or modify the notice depending on the law and nature of the hardship.

All payments can be paid by mail, online, in person at the city office or placed in the drop box.

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