KEYSER - The Keyser City Council will start utilizing water bills to solicit opinions from residents on specific issues, beginning with the May bills.

By Liz Beavers
lbeavers@newstribune.info
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The Keyser City Council will start utilizing water bills to solicit opinions from residents on specific issues, beginning with the May bills.
The idea of placing a survey question on the water bills came up in follow up to city administrator Randy Amtower’s comments made on several occasions that the mayor and council had listened to the few people who showed up at a meeting last year to protest Amtower’s idea for registering vacant properties.
The proposal was dropped because the people who had attended the meeting were vehemently against the idea.
Amtower said those who might have been in favor of an ordinance requiring property owners to register their vacant buildings did not speak out and the council therefore had  no way of knowing the true feelings of the majority of their constituents.
Since the council decided during a meeting last month to resurrect the idea of a vacant property ordinance, council member Terry Liller Wednesday suggested using the water bills as a means of communicating with the residents.
“Having some input from people is better than having only information from a few people,” he said.
Amtower noted that it would be easy to place a question on the water bills, because “occasionally we do put messages on the bills” when the city needs to get word out to the general populace.
The question would allow for a simple “yes” or “no” answer which the resident could check and return when he or she pays the bill.
Resident Karol Ashenfelter said the bills would be a good way for people who cannot get to a council meeting to have some input on issues.
“You have an awful lot of elderly people in the community who don’t get out to meetings but want the input,” she said.
On the subject of the vacant property ordinance, Amtower gave the mayor and council members a copy of the proposal he had made last year. He urged “each person to take the packet home, go through it, and make notes as to things you like or things you don’t like.”
Although it was suggested to keep the issue on the agenda under “Unfinished Business,” the results of the water bill survey won’t be available until later in May.
The officials already have the second question in mind for the water bills: Do you favor city-wide trash pickup?