By Debbie Gregory
A special called meeting of the Red Boiling Springs City Council was held at City Hall on Monday, March 2 at 5:30 p.m. Mayor Kenneth Hollis presided with the following council members present: McCrary, Rich, Smalling, Carver and McGowan.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the gas department.
“The last several months we have been billing people and they have not been coming in and paying their bills,” said Mayor Hollis. “And for the past several years they haven’t been turning people off who don’t pay, besides maybe a few here and there.”
“In the last audit, they told us to raise gas prices,” continued the mayor. “Well, we got to looking at the figures and George McCrary asked why the money was down.”
McCrary asked the mayor, “On their utility bills, can they pay the water and garbage but not gas?”
“The problem is,” said the Mayor, “they haven’t paid a lot of anything, so we started aggressively cutting people off last week. We cut off 40 something this morning. The word is out, so people have been coming in and paying. We have $43,742.67 right now in the account.”
“Our cut off date is the 25th of each month,” noted the Mayor. “I want you all to understand that we are going to turn off services on the 25th and if we don’t follow through with this, the state will get us or make us raise rates. I don’t want to raise the rates because some people won’t pay their bills.”
McCrary agreed, saying that wasn’t fair to the ones who pay their bills.
George McCrary said he believed the last figure he saw on the accounts receivable in the gas department was $83,000. “How much of that is current, 12 months or less,” asked McCrary. “Say within a year’s time versus 5 year old bills.”
Chad Owens said probably 80% percent of that was old bills.
“There are some people that are mad,” said the mayor, “but I don’t want to treat anybody different. If they are not paying – gas, water and sewer – we are cutting them off across the board. If we don’t we are going to get in a mess with the state. That’s the problem that we are in, and the policy is the 25th of the month.”
“And now, instead of just a few cut off here and there, everybody will be cut off, and they can’t say we are singling anybody out,” said the mayor. “If I have to pay my bills, you should have to pay yours. And there will be no payment plans.
“Once we started looking, we realized that problems with people paying their gas bill had drifted over into other bills,” added the mayor. “If we are going to be fair, let’s be fair across the board with all the bills.”