EARLY — Members of the Early City Council took action to amend the penalties in the city’s drought contingency plan by including penalties beyond the $25 reconnection fee.
“We have several residents in the city that will water when they want to,” City of Early Administrator Ken Thomas said. “You can turn their water off but they could get it reconnected.”
The council decided to amend the drought contingency plan to include penalties for residents who violate the Stage 3 watering restrictions, which limits outdoor watering to Mondays (odd house numbers) and Tuesdays (even house numbers) from the hours of midnight to 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight.
“We were blessed with rain last week, but we only have so much water left in that lake,” Early Mayor Bob Mangrum said. “We don’t know if we’re going to get more rain. We have to conserve now.”
With the approved revisions, residents will receive a warning and have their water disconnected, which can be reconnected for a $25 fee that will double with each violation with a maximum fee of $100. Upon the second violation, the resident will pay a $250 fine along with the reconnection fee. After the third violation, the fine will increase to $500 per violation.
“While $500 is the maximum penalty, it’s per violation,” Early City Attorney Perry Sims said. “If they water one day and again two days later, then every single day (they violate the restrictions) can be seen as a $500 fine.”
Mangrum added “It won’t take long to get people’s attention.”
According to Thomas, the City of Early’s water meters record each time water is being used.
“Hopefully, when people start getting the $250 fines they’ll begin to cut back.”
In other business Tuesday, council members:
• Approved additions to Eastlawn Memorial Park.
• Approved the special use permit for a manufactured home at 117 McDonald Drive.
• Approved annexing 1.5 acres at 1800 Early Boulevard, and 2.3 acres on Allen Drive, into the city.
• Approved annexing 2.32 acres on Allen Drive.
• Approved a plat for a development on seven lots on Allen Drive.
• Heard reports on the water update and budget concerns for next fiscal year.