Falmouth City Clerk announces utility penalties will resume


    Due to executive orders issued by the governor after COVID-19 hit, utility providers across the Commonwealth were unable to collect late fees for overdue bills.
    As of January 2021, those orders were discontinued. City Clerk Ramona Williams, with the advice of City Attorney Brandon Voelker, announced that those late fees would return as of February 2021 unless the governor issues a new order to the contrary. Williams shared that the city lost half of its anticipated late fee revenue--$45,000--last year due to the order.
    Mayor Stinson updated the council regarding the sewer project. Groundbreaking is to occur on March 1. He updated the new members, as well, explaining that a large retention tank is going into the sewer plant, replacing the lagoons. The pump station at East Pendleton is getting a variable-speed device that will save electricity and pay for itself. They will also be rehabbing the water tower south of town.
    Councilperson Sebastian Ernst asked that the fire appointment ordinance be revisited to be clarified so that questions do not arise at the next fire chief appointment in two years. Councilperson Amy Hurst shared the 2001 ordinance that was clear but had been redacted at a later date. The old ordinance had stated a December 31 deadline for installation of a new chief and assistant chief.
    Ernst asked that the pay scale for the fire leadership be addressed, as well.
    Mayor Ron Stinson advised Council that Michael Lanin had contacted him stating that the head start construction was moving, but it was moving at “a snail’s pace” due to the agency having to place one million children, COVID-19, and other factors.
    Councilperson Luke Price advised the departments to be aware of their overtime budget expenses. Mayor Stinson reminded Council that several new hires had come in, and their training contributed to the overtime.
    Police Chief Shannon Clem, Maintenance Director Gary Lea, Fire Chief Dave Klaber, and Water and Wastewater Supervisor Andy Richie reported that the month of December held normal activity levels. Richie is anticipating the need for a new pump at the Cardinal station, and Klaber reported a lower-than-normal number of runs. Clem shared notes on code enforcement violations for Council’s reference if they are questioned.