Council moves closer to wrapping Juanita Street projects

On Tuesday night, the Wills Point City Council moved one step closer to putting roadwork on Juanita Street into its rearview mirror.

The council approved a bid to repair drainage issues that have been a bump for both city leaders and area residents

Stretching back to 2013.

The project was initially put in motion back in February 2013 when city staff members were directed to develop cost estimates for road projects throughout the city. In March of that same year, plans were made to proceed with a reconstruction project of both Juanita and Gordon Streets.

Phase one of the project, which began in April 2013 and included curb and gutter replacements, and phase two, which started in August 2013, were both completed as planned.

Problems began to surface a short time after the first major rain following the projects’ completion hit the area, highlighting drainage problems and areas of “ponding.”

Subsequent work by the engineering firm of Schaumburg and Polk, which was not involved in the original engineering of the project, revealed that the grade of the roadway was “inadequate”, and that the crowns on Juanita and Gordon Streets created a “dam.”

In May 2014, another round of work began to help alleviate the situation. Another chapter was added on Tuesday night, with council members hearing a brief update from Allen Ross of Schaumburg and Polk on bids received to fix residual drainage issues.

Council members eventually agreed to a $48,141.50 bid made by Lucas Construction to undertake the project, with the work not expected to exceed 45 days.


Water bills

The council shifted business by changing fees related to the ownership, installation, use, testing, replacement and damages to water meters, as well as reconnect and late fees for outstanding water bills.

In discussing water meters, city leaders determined that residents who insist that their readings are incorrect, even after city workers have double checked the readings, will have an option to have the meters sent out for testing with a deposit. If the readings are correct, the person requesting the test would be liable for the testing fee. If the readings are incorrect, the city would assume the cost and make amends on billing.

Council members also made changes to late fees regarding water bills.

Mayor Mark Turner said the city sends out approximately 1,900 bills via e-mail or regular mail. Of those 1,900, an average of 430 customers fail to pay their bill leading to a re-bill notice.

The new rates now take the 10-day notice fee the city sends out from $15 to $20. After the end of the 10 days, the fee will now go from $35 to $50.

 “We have several payment methods,” Turner said. “You can do it in person, you can do it online through the website, you can do it by automated bank drafts with STW. We have now given an online option where customers can look at their account balance. There’s all these avenues that people can pay their bills and we have 25 percent of our population that doesn’t pay their bills. Evidently the pain threshold is not enough so we’re moving that payment up to $20 and we’ll find out where that pain threshold is, but people need to pay their bills.”


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