McMinnville officials may consider a measure that would make landlords responsible for the actions of their renters, as far as water and sewer bills are concerned.
Water and Sewer Committee chairman Jimmy Bonner has asked city attorney Tim Pirtle if property owners could be held responsible for their renters not paying.
“It has been brought to my attention that people renting houses are moving away and leaving their water bills,” said Bonner. “Tim, couldn’t we pass an ordinance to make the homeowner liable for that if they move off and leave their water bills?”
Pirtle replied, “Yes, we can look at that.”
Bonner says the city is losing revenue.
“I think this is something we need to look at. A lot of people just want to walk off and leave them, so we are losing revenue.”
Alderman Bill Wood suggested the city should go a step further and consider “master readers” on large complexes as a way to make sure those bills are paid.
“Carl Davis advocated for years the need for master readers on large complexes where the main meter is billed and they bill it out like electric at a boat dock. If it isn’t paid, everyone is cut off. There was a situation years ago where the city took a pretty good hit,” said Wood.
Pirtle says the city had a situation last year with the owner of a housing complex who did not pay the water bill.
“We had an $80,000 commercial account last year,” he said. “We had to take drastic measures, but we got the money.”
No decision was made regarding the situation.