Mt. Vernon Register-News

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January 23, 2014

Residents get help after leaks

MT. VERNON — The city council has amended its ordinances allowing residents to ask for a water adjustment due to frozen pipes that happened during the Polar Vortex.

"It is for this billing cycle only," explained City Manager Ron Neibert. "It's for residential customers only. The same rules for water adjustments apply, but this will cover those who had frozen pipes inside their homes."

Water adjustments from the city are usually only allowed if a leak happens between the meter and the foundation of the home. Neibert said due to the extreme cold temperatures, many homes experienced leaks due to frozen pipes located within homes.

"I think this is an excellent idea," said Councilman Dennis McEnaney, asking what city employees brought the idea forward. Neibert said he and finance director Merle Hollmann discussed and presented the idea to the council.

Mayor Mary Jane Chesley said she knew there were several people whose pipes froze during the cold snap, although there haven't been a lot of calls made to City Hall about it.

"Our staff is very good about noticing when water usage is out of whack for an account," Neibert explained. "They try to notify residents when they see it, so the resident can track down the leak quickly. We think there will be quite a few people who had leaks during that time."

Neibert emphasized there are criteria for getting the adjustment. Bills for parts and labor from a plumber must be turned over to the water department; if the resident completed repairs by themselves, receipts for parts must be turned over to the department.

After the current billing cycle, the ordinance will revert to the previous policy, which will only allow water adjustments for leaks happening between the water meter and the foundation of the home.

Anyone who had frozen pipes during the current billing cycle may contact the city water department to find out more about the adjustment.

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