The Galva City Council voted Monday night to increase the fee to turn the water back on at a residence after it has been shut off non-payment.
The fee will be $50 after the first time, then it will go to $100 each time a resident gets shut off for non-payment. The council noted the water department is losing money on rentals in Galva, and a lien cannot be put on the house if a tenant is running up the bill.
The city has an ordinance that when a renter moves out and leaves a bill, the landlord was responsible before the water could ever be turned on again in that residence. Water supervisor Greg Thompson said that ordinance changed about 10 years ago and the landlord is not responsible.
The city will purchase meters that a worker can drive-by and read from a vehicle. The 216 rentals in Galva will go on a monthly bill. City administrator David Dyer said it will cost $255,000 to install the 600 meters in Galva. That price includes the meter as well as installation.
The city’s two secretaries spend 25 to 30 percent of their time collecting water bills and trying to track people down that move and leave no address, and also that some people are on a payment plan for overdue water bills.
In other council business:
• Hydrant flushing begins May 28 in Galva and will continue for two weeks, according to Thompson.
• Police Chief Kraig Townsend reported animal complaints on dogs and wild animals have tripled. He said Bethell’s Wildlife Control of Woodhull have been in town trapping foxes. Chief Townsend added that only 65-70 dogs have a current dog tag in Galva.
The council agreed that people must buy their tag before the dog can be released back to them. Galva has an ordinance on file that all dogs and cats must have tags. The ordinance has been on file for years but most residents are unaware of the ordinance. The tags can be purchased at the Galva Veterinary Clinic or the City Hall for $2 and must be purchased yearly.
• Mayor Rich Volkert thanked all city employees for all of the water they have pumped in recent weeks.
• There are two new 15-minute parking spaces on North Exchange Street near Galva Pharmacy. The 15-minute limit does not apply after 5 p.m.
• The council went into a 45-minute closed session for personnel and real estate, but no action was taken.
• The city received the following checks — February sales tax $13,838; April personal property replacement tax $11,783; April MFT $5,730; April video gaming $2,967; and February telecommunications tax $2,811.
• City administrator David Dyer said he is working on emergency plans in case of a disaster in Galva.
• The council passed its yearly ordinance to re-route US routes 17 and 34 during the Fourth of July parade.