Duquesne water customers owed the city nearly $64,000 at the beginning of September --- but city officials said delinquent accounts are not going to be allowed to slide any longer.
At council's Sept. 25 meeting, Councilwoman Elaine Washington said that a review of the city's accounts found that some residents had past-due balances of more than $4,000. In some cases, she said, residents who had unpaid water bills were allowed to open new accounts without paying off the old bills.
That arrangement is no longer acceptable, Washington said, and bills must be paid in full monthly.
In addition, she said, the water department is putting an end to the practice of allowing customers to pay off balances over a six-month period. Beginning in July 2019, that option will only be available for residents who have had a water leak.
New billing software has been installed for the water department, Washington said, and should be running smoothly by the end of the month.
In other business, Mayor Nickole Nesby reported that the city is now in compliance with the state's recycling laws, according to Waste Management and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Duquesne was recently selected to participate in a program with Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Nesby said. Duquesne officials will collaborate with graduate students from the school in an effort to explore opportunities for economic development, she said.
Washington reported that she is meeting with area legislators to find out if funds are available to build a senior citizens' building in Duquesne.
Councilwoman Fawn McDaniel reported that the Duke City Youth Council provided local youth with back-to-school supplies, for which the students and their parents were extremely grateful.
McDaniel said she will keep everyone up to date with future meetings and events throughout the year. The organization is still accepting members, and anyone interested in joining should contact McDaniel to sign up.
Council approved a motion hiring Troy Titus as an information technology specialist. Titus had been a contractor but will now be a city employee, officials said.
Council also hired five temporary employees through Nov. 19 for the Fall Seasonal Work Program; and created a building security officer position for city hall.
Council also approved a motion authorizing the city solicitor to file the necessary paperwork for Duquesne to join in litigation between the Regional Industrial Development Corp. and Allegheny Recovery Corp.
During the public comment section of the meeting, resident Jim Leftwich asked council for permission to put a shed on the baseball field to store equipment. Council voted to allow him to do so, pending receipt of necessary paperwork.
Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer who covers municipal news from Duquesne and White Oak, along with other topics, for Tube City Almanac. She may be reached at email@example.com. Jason Togyer, editor of Tube City Almanac, contributed to this story. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published October 09, 2018.