Bethel City Council Passes Water and Sewer Rules

by Ben Matheson on March 26, 2014

The Bethel City Council on Tuesday night approved modified water and sewer rules requiring every house to be connected to water and sewer service, while allowing for exceptions for homes with other dependable water sources.

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The council included revised language requiring that water main connections to homes must meet uniform plumbing code at the time of completion. They removed a $35 fee for temporarily stopping or starting hauled service. Piped customers would have to pay actual costs.

The council passed an ordinance banning taxi drivers from talking on cell phones while driving. They amended the ordinance to the include use of handheld devices. Council member Mark Springer spoke to the issue of distracted driving.

“Texting, surfing the internet playing music, picking a song you want to listen to, if that thing’s in your hand, your eyes are going away from the road,” said Springer.

City Manager Lee Foley took additional heat from the council because of his request for $32,000 to pay a contractor for impounding equipment belonging to Elite Mechanical. The equipment was sitting on city property.

Councilmember Heather Pike said this is one in a series of projects that have gone forward without express council approval.

“Every meeting I have heard we are running a deficit, what are we going to do when AVEC comes on. And yet we are nickel and diming it away. It’s like $20,000 here, $ 32,000 here, $40,000 here, $60,000 here. At some point we have to pump the brakes and look at it from the perspective of are we really able to afford to pay $32,000 to impound this equipment?,” said Pike.

That money should be recouped from the company owner or by auctioning off the assets, according to Foley.

The council approved a budget modification to move $40,000 to the city attorney’s budget for a private investigation into contracts and personnel issues, which is rapidly coming to a close.

They did not go along with Mayor Joe Klejka’s motion to remove former finance director Bobby Sutton from the title of the motion that named investigation subjects. Vice Mayor Rick Robb said the investigation has advanced beyond that point.

“To go now and say we’ll take his name off because he called someone up and was embarrassed, that just seems counter productive. We’re going backwards if we do it. We’ve already invested considerable time, we’ve invested considerable money, we’ve invested considerable resources,” said Robb.

Mayor Klejka said it was not too late.

“We didn’t use other names that are in there by generalities, like the sand pit, etc. Doing the right thing, even if it’s late is never wrong. Choosing not to do the right thing even later on is wrong,” said Klejka.

There was no special meeting held to discuss proposals for operating and maintaining the new pool. A contactor, ProDev was not able to make into Bethel for the meeting.

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