Rogers empathizes with homeowners but won’t waive unpaid utility bills

by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter

Contributing Writer

 

The Rogers City Council agreed not to set a precedent by waiving unpaid utility bills incurred by the previous owner of a home.

The council had heard from new homeowners Paul and Rachel Trombley at a council meeting in October where they asked that the more than $500 in unpaid utility bills that had been racked up by the previous owner be waived.

Most title companies place a call to the city where the property is located to ascertain whether or not there are unpaid fees that could become assessments against the property. The Trombley’s title company did not take this step and missed the pending utility bills, leaving them to become assessments against the property and its new owners in 2013.

City Attorney Jeff Carson had offered to contact the title company to help facilitate an agreement between the parties. The title company refused to take responsibility for the issue.

“This is the first time we’ve not been able to get some sort of satisfaction from the closing company,” said Mayor Jay Bunting.

Though the council was sympathetic to the Trombley’s plight, they were reticent to waive the fees, lest they set a precedent.

“We’re opening up a real Pandora’s box if we let that happen,” commented Council member Rick Ihli.

Bunting also offered a financial viewpoint on the issue.

“I have to look at the people in the audience and say, ‘Is this the best use of your tax dollars?’ Though they may be sympathetic, they would probably agree that no, this is not,” he said.

In other matters, the council agreed to extend an offer of employment to the top candidate for a Police Officer position recently vacated. The candidate, Jared Peterson, is a six-year veteran of the Marshall Police Department with an exemplary record and experience as a Field Training Officer. Pending the successful completion of background, physical, and psychological testing, Peterson could begin employment with the Rogers Police Department in the next few weeks.

The council also received a $5,000 check from the Rogers-Hassan Senior Friendship Group to help keep the group active through the next year.

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