Too Much, Too Soon
It's said that you can't fight city hall, but some people in Williston feel they have no choice. They were late paying their power bills, but they say the late fee was outrageous. Some people at city hall agree. The city attorney is stepping down for a variety of reasons. But it isn't just the late fee that bothers them, it's the way it was handled.
Residents say they came to Williston for the small town feel, but have recently gotten the cold shoulder from city hall with utility bill late fees reaching thousands of dollars. What disturbed some residents even more, was that their city attorney Norm Fugate resigned in the midst of it all.
While many celebrated Martin Luther King Day, some residents of Williston were fighting to get their power turned back on. Forty one people in the town had their power shut off Monday for being late on their payments. Their argument: it was a national holiday and couldn't make it to the banks to withdrawal their payments. Some of the bills were in the thousands. The city ordinance states that if a customer does not pay their bill within the 5 day grace period of it already being late, they must make a deposit on top of that month's bill. The deposit is a combination of the person's two highest monthly bills.
At a city meeting on Tuesday, the council agreed there had been miscommunication and agreed to refund all the deposits. Former city attorney Norm Fugate says he resigned to protect his career and that City Hall at Williston has "lost any common courtesy and common sense."
President of city council, Marc Nussel, made this statement to TV 20:
"Martin Luther King Day is not a holiday for the city and because of the misunderstanding they will refund those deposits. We charge such high penalties because over the past years, we've had to write off unpaid bills and the ordinances are in place to prevent future costs, it lowers the city's loss ratio."
In response to the concern this has caused residents, the city will hold an informational meeting about bills February 15th.
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