A number of residents in the Devil’s Lake area of Lincoln City will soon experiencing what it’s like to pay a sewer bill. While Lincoln City Public Works was out doing work in the area relative to water usage, they discovered a lot of houses in the area that never have shown up on the city’s sewer customer list. And it was determined they never paid a sewer bill. City Manager David Hawker said some probably haven’t paid anything since the 1980’s. He said most of the “slackers” were probably created by building contractors who never turned in the proper paperwork when the houses were built. So when no sewer bill arrived in the mail, no money was paid for flushing the toilets.
Hawker told the council that under the circumstances it would be better to not go back thirty-five years and try to collect all the arrears. Certainly not in the midst of “The Great Recession.” He said, “Let’s go back 3 years and call it even. The residents will pay their bills from here on.” He figured the back collections will amount to $14,000 for the city’s sewer fund.
However City Councilors Chester Noreikis, Dick Anderson and Ed Kuntz indicated that it was the city’s responsibility to set up those sewer accounts decades ago but it didn’t. They said, in effect, let the past arrears go. Just start billing them from here on and settle for that. Their position was outvoted 4-3 by Mayor Hollingsworth, Gary Ellingson, Rick Brissette and Sharon Cannon who said ‘go back 3 years, bill them, and if they need to make payments, work with them. They added ‘just make sure you bill them in time for the next sewer billing cycle coming up.