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Westernport mayor on unpaid water bills: 'There's going to be a lot of red tags'

Mineral Daily News-Tribune
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By Ronda Wertman

Tribune Correspondent

WESTERNPORT – Nearly 200 water customers have outstanding bills in Westernport.

“There’s going to be a lot of people receiving red tags on their doors,” said mayor Laura Freeman Legge as the shut-off process began this week.

For months, the town has contacted residents about their outstanding bills in preparation for the time when shut-offs would resume during the pandemic.

Legge urged residents to set up payment plans and noted that they can also reach out to the Human Resources Development Commission (HRDC), if they need assistance.

Due to increasing cases of coronavirus, the city building will remain closed to the public until the positivity rate is five percent or below.

Rental property inspections are not being completed at this time, due to the increased risk of exposure and will be discussed again at the Jan. 4 meeting of the mayor and council.

With many unknowns surrounding the Upper Potomac River Commission (UPRC) following the closure and potential purchase of the Luke Mill, Westernport is looking into its own waste water treatment plant.

Legge announced a $2 million cost to construct a facility, which would have the capacity to handle Westernport, Luke and Piedmont.

The council noted that there could be the possibility of 100 percent state grant financing, but that the town would have to hire additional employees to operate the plant.

“We would have to weigh the options,” said Legge of a facility, which would be placed at the ballfield.

“We’ve got this as an option. Hopefully it doesn’t come to this, that the buyer of the mill produces enough that our rates don’t double or triple,” she added.

On a final note, the town accepted bids for the sale of 101 Howard Street, which was purchased by Clinton Bradley.