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IM adjusts its water bill policy

IRON MOUNTAIN — Changes in water service shutoffs for customers behind on bill payments will take effect Jan. 1 in Iron Mountain.

The city council Monday approved the amended policy, which City Manager Jordan Stanchina says should eliminate most shutoffs while also giving customers facing service termination ample opportunity to pay.

Currently, the city places all outstanding balances of six months or older on the summer tax bill. That practice will continue, without the need for shutoffs.

Also, the current one-time 10% penalty for overdue accounts will be lowered to 5%, but a 1.5% monthly interest penalty will be applied to past due balances. This lowers the penalty while also providing an incentive keep an account up to date, Stanchina said.

Customers who are renters will potentially face shutoffs if their outstanding balance reaches $350. In that case, a 50% down payment accompanied by payment arrangements will prevent shutoff, unless payment dates are missed.

Council member Kyle Blomquist asked how many shutoffs the new policy will avoid and Stanchina estimated it may be 90%. The policy change will be monitored to see if more adjustments are needed, he added.

In other action, the council:

— Approved an agreement with the Michigan Department of Transportation to replace the city’s clay tile sewer and install two manholes on Carpenter Avenue at the intersection of Woodward Avenue when the road is rebuilt in mid-2024. The cost is $43,600. MDOT, in cooperation with the city of Kingsford, plans to rebuild Carpenter from Hamilton Avenue north to Woodward, which is the Iron Mountain city limits. If the sewer isn’t replaced and were to fail at a later date, any repair under the highway would come at a much greater cost. The contract, first discussed in July, has now been formalized.

— Heard Stanchina clarify that a full block sewer repair on Tamarack Street that Barley Excavating of Menominee recently completed came after Bacco Construction Co. of Iron Mountain was first hired for a spot repair. In retrospect, a spot repair was probably not the appropriate solution, given the soil and water conditions, Stanchina said. Barley was then hired based on experience and availability, as other qualified contractors were occupied into the next construction season.

— Will bill Kwik Trip $10,460 for an additional 2 inches of asphalt paving the company requested on Grant Street that Bacco completed this fall at a cost of $28,528. Separately, Bacco will be paid $110,256 for paving on the 600 block of East H Street and the alley that extends to East G Street, and Cook Street. The work is part of a $731,041 contract awarded in September for about 2.3 miles of paving. The rest of the work will take place in the spring.

— Approved closing Ludington Street from Stephenson Avenue east to the alley at Carlos Cantina from 2 to 7 p.m. Friday for a downtown Christmas tree lighting. Also, the parking lot east of the downtown stage will be closed during the same period for a live Nativity scene.

Jim Anderson can be reached at 906-774-3500, ext. 226, or janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.

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