The residents of Foxtail Woods in Stacy were recently informed of the city’s efforts to settle the issue of an outstanding irrigation meter bill.
Though there was agreement among some in the development to pay the bill and move on, other residents who were notified in writing of a deadline to arrange payment came to the council. Several questioned if the developer had been contacted and asked to pay the bill. According to city staff, the developer was contacted, but only once, and only to advise that a large bill would be coming. Mayor Mark Utecht and City Clerk Sharon Payne acknowledged the city had difficulty locating the meter that is now the source of the contentious bill, though they knew it existed.
“The end result is that water went through the meter and it watered the lawn,” Utecht said. “It’s over.”
Resident Scott Olson took the issue back to the beginning. He has lived in the development since 2008, but not until March 2012 did residents know there was a water bill problem with the city.
“Whose responsibility is it to inspect the meter and make sure it is installed properly?” he asked. Although the responsibility for inspection lies with City Building and Code Inspector Jack Kramer, Kramer didn’t know the meter had been installed. “I feel the meter should have been inspected, there should have been a first reading on the meter,” Olson said.
He took issue with the city attorney assisting with the collection process, telling the council in his opinion, City Attorney Peter Grundhoefer should support the citizens and the developer should be liable for the bill. “I feel the city is half at fault because of their inaction and the way they handled the situation, but they don’t seem to want to take any responsibility for it,” Olson said.
Olson told the Post Review that the developer had met with the homeowners association in 2011 and indicated receipt of a large bill from the city, but he assured the association he would handle it. The residents of Foxtail Woods have been advised by the city their recourse is to pay the bill or face assessments, and in turn they will have to seek compensation from the developer in conciliation court.