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Council approves changes to delinquent bill process

The City of River Falls has changed its process for collecting unpaid bills for city services through the tax roll.

Per the new ordinance, approved at the City Council’s Tuesday, Sept. 27, meeting, notice will be sent to people who owe money for city services such as electricity, water, sewer, garbage, and other such services, by Oct. 15. If the money isn't paid by Nov. 1, a 10% penalty fee will be added to the bill. If it still isn't paid by Nov. 15, the city will add the money owed - including the 10% fee - to the tax roll.

The approved amendment has done away with a public hearing held at the second City Council meeting in November, at which citizens could protestthe charges put on the tax roll.

“They’ll be notified that they have delinquent accounts that will be going on the tax roll, but there won’t be a public hearing,” said Julie Bergstrom, city finance director and assistant city administrator.

However, Bergstrom and Utility Director Kevin Westhuis said residents with delinquent utility bills will still have options for protesting any charges they think are unfair. Residents can file a complaint through the Public Service Commission (PSC) website, Westhuis said they can also come into his office to speak with him. Residents are also welcome to speak with the Mayor or city staff at any time and request to come before the board on any issue.

--The council also voted to award a bid to Total Excavating LLC in the amount of $40,611.50 for demolition of three city-owned buildings north of City Hall, including the former Cenex building, the former freight warehouse and an old concrete bunker. The council voted to demolish the buildings in its July 23 meeting.

--The council also read but did not discuss or vote upon a proposed ordinance to do away with parking meters and a proposed amendment to the “Official Parking Control Map” which would establish two, two-hour parking zones on Locust and Second streets. This was a first reading and no action was taken.

For more information, please see the Sept. 5 print edition of the River Falls Journal.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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