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Ironton to begin billing businesses in July

Now that the Ironton City Council has approved a change in the city’s fire consumption fee, city businesses even those without water bills can expect to receive a bill for the $12 fee in July.

At the regular meeting last week, council unanimously approved an ordinance that changed the fire consumption fee structure to a flat $12 for all businesses. The fee had been administered according to how many gallons of water used.

Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship, the city’s finance department and the city’s water department are working together to find each business in the city limits that is not currently billed for water usage so it can be billed the $12 fire consumption fee.

Finance Director Kristen Martin said it may take some time for the city to know how much money will be generated from the new fee structure.

“It will take at least a month or two and that’s in the event that everyone pays it,” Martin said. “We expect to have the group of businesses that are not associated with a water meter on the next billing.”

The city is looking through the Lawrence County auditor’s office records as well as income tax records to find businesses that are not associated with a water bill.

“It’s going to be a pretty time consuming process to now investigate these businesses that are not on a meter and I don’t know that it will be all-inclusive,” Martin said.

The water department will send out bills for the fire fee.

“It’s going to create some work but that’s fine, we’ll work through it,” Blankenship said. “I don’t know how much work it’s going to create. There are only two employees in the water department. They’ll be producing the utility bill for business that don’t have a water meter.”

“(City Council) passed the law and I’ll just try to enforce it the best I can,” Blankenship said.