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Montoursville Borough Council gives water bill payment reprieve

Montoursville Borough Council agreed to give residents and businesses who haven’t paid their water bills another chance to avoid utility shutoffs.

More than 40 bills are reportedly in arrears since the onset of COVID-19 more than a year ago, but customers can now pay their bills in three installments following a 3-2 vote by council.

Voting in favor of the payment plan were Christopher Lucas, Eric Greenway, and Misty Emick. Voting no were Mark Tillson and Robert Brown.

Tillson argued that giving water customers up to 270 days to pay their bills is too long a time.

In debating the issue, council initially considered a 90-day limit to make payments.

“This has been going on for a year,” Tillson said. “You have to draw a line somewhere.”

Emick said 90 days was perhaps too soon a time to expect payments to be made.

“Eventually, you have to collect the money,” Mayor Steve Bagwell said.

Added Greenway: “I don’t think 90 days is feasible for all the people on the list.”

Lucas agreed that 90 days was probably unrealistic.

He said he wouldn’t feel right about cutting off water service to families who simply couldn’t pay their bills.

“I think there needs to be a good faith effort (to pay),” he said, adding that some people simply don’t have the money.

“We are not obligated to pay peoples’ water bills,” Tillson said.

Emick said, “We are obligated to look out for people in this community.”

It was noted that customers in arrears will not face late penalty fees on their past due bills.

However, all water customers will face late penalties for not paying future bills.

In other matters, Bob Weaver, vice president of Konkle Library Board of Directors, announced a campaign to raise money for remodeling the library building.

Weaver said the goal is to raise $325,000 for the project to include making infrastructure improvements, providing better accessibility within the building, and renovating the children’s area.

So far, the board has pledged $60,000 toward the effort, Weaver said.

Some 13,000 people are served by the library, he noted.

In other matters, council:

• Voted to allow Todd Pysher Engineering to prepare bid documents for the Walnut Street paving project.

• Voted to apply for liquid fuels money from Lycoming County.

• Gave its support for a plan to hold a light show during the holidays in Indian Park.

• Agreed to waive pavilion rental fees in Indian Park for Lyter Elementary Fun Day field trips May 28, June 3, June 4 and June 9.

The next council meeting is 7 p.m. Monday, May 3.

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