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Tardy Wesson tenants may no longer get free water

Wesson soon may see changes to the way water bills are sent out for homes with multiple tenants.

It’s not uncommon in Wesson for such homes to have a single water meter, and the bill split between the tenants. But this causes problems for the town when some of the tenants pay their water bill and others do not, officials said.

“What you run into is one party paying their portion and the other party would not, leaving the bill deficient,” Wesson Mayor Alton Shaw said at Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting. “Well, it would not be fair to cut off the one meter because you’d be cutting off the one that paid as well.”

The board granted Shaw permission to advertise in December for a hearing about a new proposal that would make homeowners ultimately responsible for the water bill — though board attorney Jeff Varas said there was an alternative option.

“They get the option to put separate water meters in each unit and leave it up to the tenant,” Varas said. “It’s not fair to have one meter and have us split the bill and then the rest of us subsidizing the irresponsible person.”

According to the proposal, current agreements would be terminated within 30 days of the homeowner receiving notice. Homeowners will also be required to pay any outstanding debt because of tardy tenants or risk having the meter shut off.

“If you have a duplex situation, you have one bill sent to the owner of the property,” Shaw said. “It will be their responsibility to see the bill is paid. If they choose to do any collection of the tenants, that’s between them and their contract.”

In other business:

• Larry Beeson and Mark Kirton were granted a non-exclusive right to develop Machinery Street at their own expense as a personal driveway.

• The board approved a contract with Mark Brown to handle certification for water and sewer for $2,500 a month.

• The board approved purchase of a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado for $7,500.