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Wilmer: 'Mistrust to the public' Residents upset about large increase to water bills

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WILMER- Residents filled every chair, wall and parking spot available during the Thursday, Sept. 2 council meeting at 7:30 p.m.

The majority of the residents present were upset over the huge increase to their water bills.

"My bill went up to $428 from $70 dollars this month so either my bill is too high or I have a swimming pool that I don’t know of," said Myra Wheaten who lives on Dewberry.

Wheaten was just one of many whom felt the city was a "mistrust to the public."

Citing local election code 551, Mayor Jeff Steele said before the public comments, anything asked that wasn’t on the agenda will not be answered since it’s against code to do so.

"A public meeting will be held to answer all questions on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m.," said Steele.

Mario Pena, a 40-year resident, said there was a leak at the corner of Dewberry and Thorne and Dewberry and Dewitt and wanted to know why they haven’t been fixed hoping this was not the reason for increasing water bills.

A phone call placed to Ste-ele’s office on Tuesday, Sept. 7 revealed the reason to such increases in their bills.

"Proper procedure was not followed entering data to the meter log," said Steele.

After investigation and questioning on Friday, Sept. 3 after the previous night’s council meeting, Steele confirmed the city is one employee short now.

"Our investigation did have an employee come forward, admitted to his mistakes and resigned."

Steele, not confident in releasing personnel information wouldn’t give a name but, did say someone from the water department ended up resigning over the incident.

An Open Records Request has been submitted for the employee’s letter of resignation.

In order to relieve the stress from the citizens of Wilmer, Steele said the city will be very relaxed on when the bills for this month need to be paid and they will resort to the August 2009 billing cycle for payment.

"I am now working on strengthening our policy and procedures on documentation and data entry," said Steele.

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