plunges into attempt to discover town's water policy
By Molly Farmer
April 9, 2006 | NEWTON -- Confusion
over current city water policies and procedures led
to lengthy discussion and prompted a decision by the
Town Council to have a work session in May.
"I have a lot of questions and no answers," Mayor
Clair Christiansen said at the Thursday night meeting.
Christiansen and other council members attempted to
find the current water policies in stacks of paper and
codified ordinance books, some dating back to the late
In the past, persons living outside Newton city limits
were permitted to use city water for their homes and
farms, so long as they paid a double water rate. Councilwoman
Susan Maughan said the current policy prohibits any
new out-of-town citizens from using Newton city water,
and said that ruling needs to be written down.
"I don't care what the policies are, I just want to
know what they are," Christiansen said.
Christiansen said his main concern with the way policies
and procedures have been recorded is that debates arise
on a case-by-case basis, with town's people approaching
different council members until they get an answer they
He said the best way to solve the problem is "to know
what our policy is."
Other water-related problems included people who rent
homes in Newton and stay for a few months but never
pay their water bill, Christiansen said, then they skip
town. Some bills start out as a few hundred dollars,
but with interest and fees can get to be as high as
$1,600 after a few years.
The council decided the best method to get people
to pay their outstanding bills was to find where they
live and take them to small claims court. If they can't
be found, the landlord is expected to pay the bill and
no tenants can occupy that property until the bill is
If the person who owned the home when the bill was
accrued has sold the property, Christiansen said to
drop it and cut the losses rather than allow the bills
to grow as the city has no leverage against the previous
After much discussion, it was decided that the council
would research the water policies and procedures of
past years and hold a work session to determine what
the current policy is at the next council meeting on
In other business, Town Hall was presented with a
sculpture from the Daughters of Utah Pioneers depicting
a man teaching his son how to plow a field. Ilda Berge,
along with several other members from the DUP, had everyone
in attendance at the meeting go to the hall for the
unveiling of the sculpture.
"I think this is a real tribute," Christiansen said
of the sculpture created by Newton resident Marion Hawes.
The council also discussed replacing the Town Hall
roof, decided to purchase a lawn mower from Utah State
University to mow the soccer fields; and announced the
town cleanup day will be managed by Dave Cooley and