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Petitioners seek recall of Center Town Trusees

Posted: Friday, Dec 7th, 2012

Trustee Julio Paez. Mayor Susan Banning, Trustee Moe Jones and Trustee John Faron (end) are the subject of a recall vote by opponents of water metering in Center.

By Teresa L. Benns

CENTER — Center Town Manager Forrest Neuerburg confirmed Monday that petitions are circulating in Center to recall Mayor Susan Banning and Trustees Julio Paez, John Faron and Maurice (Moe) Jones.

The move to recall the officials came following a decision by a hearing board last week that the town’s water utility is an actual enterprise and that no election can be held to determine if the town can spend money to improve the water system.

Those opposing improvements to the water system previously pushed for a special election to be held before water system improvements are made and water usage rates increased.

Rate hike opponents have repeatedly alleged that the town’s proposed water rate hike, needed to repay for system improvements, will only be the beginning of periodic water use increases. Town officials demonstrated in August during a town hall special meeting for local residents that water rates would be based on a flat rate user fee.

As is the case with many other municipalities in the state using the flat rate fee system, heavier users will pay more and conservative users less following the installation water meters in Center.

Town officials continue to stress the fact that the improvements to the water system are long past state deadlines mandating metering. They also point out that improvements are necessary to ensure the quality and availability of water in the town.

The same group who opposed the dismissal of utility board members last year and called for a special election to contest the dismissal is lobbying against the improvements of the town’s water system. Members of this group include former mayor Adeline Sanchez, Jennie Sanchez, Mary McClure, former town clerk Bill McClure, as well as several Head Start and Housing Authority employees.

For the complete article see the 12-06-2012 issue.

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