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Hayneville Council hears water complaint

By Mark Rogers

The Lowndes Signal

A resident concerned about the fairness of water shutoffs in Hayneville shared his concerns with the Town Council earlier this week.

Marcus Lewis spoke with Mayor David Daniel and council members at length during Monday’s meeting after having had his water shut off.

“It was my fault,” he said. “But I’m concerned that if you cut me off, you need to make sure you cut everybody off. You cut me off for $200 and there are people who owe more, some as much as $1,000 or more.”

Councilwoman Kim Payton said the Town of Hayneville works with residents who can’t pay their bills and often a payment plan is put in place. She said sometimes people even get behind because a leak has caused an abnormally high bill.

Daniels said Hayneville officials want to work with residents that have bills that are in arrears.

“Sometimes these bills get high,” he said. “We want to work out a plan, but if they don’t pay the plan, they’ll be cut off again.”

Lewis again emphasized having plans in place for all citizens.

“If it is good for one, it’s good for all,” he said.

The Town of Hayneville currently has more than 300 water customers on payment plans, according to officials.

“They have a certain amount of time to make a payment plan,” Councilman Jimmie Davis said. “They have to pay their current bill plus the amount agreed on. The payment plan is an average. We’ve got to go across the board.”

Mayor Daniel agreed.

“We’ve got to try to provide fairness for everyone,” he said. “I promise you fairness.”

Town Council members also approved a measure to allow the annual audit and then discussed participation in the state’s annual Back-to-School Tax Holiday, slated for July 19-21. Items needed for children to return back to school are exempted from sales tax on those dates.

“Do you think we should participate?” Daniel asked the council.

Council members said Hayneville had participated in the past and agreed. A motion by Councilwoman Sharon Reeves to participate was unanimously approved.

Police Chief Kelvin B. Mitchell also discussed litigation and a personnel matter in executive session. No action was taken.

The council also voted to declare old water meters as surplus property and paid the town’s bills.