LAKESIDE — Late fees for unpaid water bills are going up in Lakeside.
The decision was made during the Thursday, Aug. 8, Lakeside City Council meeting where fencing around the airport and an update on the upcoming 2020 census were also discussed.
The council unanimously passed a resolution to raise the sewer late fee from two percent to nine percent and repeal the vacant sewer fee. It was noted the two percent late fee and vacant sewer rate had stayed consistent since 2007 and 2013, respectively; this was not concurrent with inflation, worker wage increases, and the needs for proper maintenance of the facilities.
The increase changes the past due late fee from $.90 to $4.05, with no interest accrued.
"This increases is in order for the continued sustainment, future growth, and future efficiency of the city operations for the citizens of Lakeside," reads the council's resolution.
The city is also looking into getting a new water treatment plant. They have applied for grants and are looking into other options for raising money.
"We're going to have a heck of a fundraiser coming up," said Councilor Shauleen Higgins on raising money for the plant. "It's not really a luxury, it's kind of a necessity."
The council's guest speaker, Jim Graham from the United States Census Bureau, presented on the census and the importance of getting information on "hard-to-count" groups. These are groups like the homeless, some small children, and residents who don't want to give the government information.
Graham said one of the big purposes of the census is representation and funding. He said a number of grants are given based on an area's population, so having an accurate count of residents can open the door to getting projects funded; the census is also directly tied to determining how many representatives an area gets in the state and federal legislature.
For 2020, the census will also have an online version of the form that can be filled out, which is expected to speed up census collecting as well as making it easier for people to participate. While the Census Bureau will be encouraging people to use the online form, Graham said they will still be sending out traditional paper census as well.
Graham noted some residents may not be comfortable giving the government their personal information. He said there are very strict rules protecting any personal information from being shared to anyone but the person counting the form; he added that the bureau sends people door to door to collect information in-person when the census isn't returned.
During the Airport Commission's update, it was noted that the fences around the airport are falling down due to their age. As a result, people are going onto the airport grounds while walking their dogs and doing other activities. The commission requested the council provide funds to repair the fencing.
Ideally, they would like to put down new poles and barbed wire. Higgins suggested they could use a different material to support the barbed wire, but it was noted the cost of it could be prohibitive, and a tried and true option might be preferred.