SALINEVILLE-At least five sewage customers in the village could have charges brought against them for tampering with their water meter. Board of Public Affairs members weighted their options Monday night regarding a handful of sewage customers who have, in several cases, continuously turned their water back on after having it shut off for not paying their delinquent sewage bills.
As part of the effort to collect delinquent sewage bills accumulated by customers during a lawsuit between Buckeye Water District and the village, board members began shutting off water service to those who refuse to pay in June.
Board members mailed several rounds of notices to customers warning them of the impending shut offs and exhorting them to pay their bill. Still, a number of customers who did not heed the warning had their water service shut off by the village. Of these customers, five have illegally turned their water back on by reinstalling the water meter removed by the village.
Board vice president Bud Taggert broached the subject of pursuing charges against sewage customers who tamper with their water meters. He inquired whether there is anything that can be done to stop customers from repeatedly turning their water back on.
"This is a theft of public utilities. Can we pursue (charges)?," asked Taggert to his fellow board members. Mayor Mary Smith was in the audience at the meeting and answered Taggert's question by presenting the board with five different sections of Ohio Revised Code pertaining to tampering with utilities.
Board President James Brammer pointed out that the tampering customers were wronging Buckeye Water District, which manages the village water system. Brammer said he would contact Buckeye District Manager Al DeAngelis and inform him of the problem. "I'm sure if we mention this to Al he'll be familiar with this," said Brammer. "I'm sure they've seen this happen before."