January 18, 2022

Water board to review bill pay policies

Creston Water Works Board agreed to review its policies regarding bill payment procedures after a couple of requests to do so during its meeting Tuesday.

Creston City Council member Rich Madison brought the issue to the board.

“Citizens do not understand these things and often call city hall with their concerns,” he said. The most common calls to city hall are in regard to water shut off or late payments. There are state regulations the water board must follow as well.

“I’d like the board to take a fresh look at these policies and be proactive,” he said. “The board may come up with better ideas than I have.”

Tuesday’s meeting also included information from a Creston Water Works account that was paid electronically. The amount paid was the larger amount, intended to be paid after the due date, but that bill was paid before the due date. Paying the larger amount was not necessary. The account holder then attempted to rescind the first amount and pay the correct amount which caused confusion.

Board members were in favor of reviewing the policy and procedure.

“I will do some research and come back to you with some options for you consider what you want to do,” said General Manager Steve Guthrie.

In other water board news...

The board scheduled a public hearing 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 8 about borrowing up to $3.3 million in state revolving funds for repair projects.

The board approved its 2023 budget that included a revenue increase of $2.3 million. Guthrie said the total revenue is $6.8 million with expenses at $6.7 million. The water intake repair project is reflected in the 2023 budget. He added chemical costs have risen sharply and expects a total cost of a year to be near $800,000. Historically, those annual costs have ranged from $650,000 to $700,000.

Board members approved to purchase a dump truck from the city of Creston it had intended to trade in. Guthrie said having a dump truck will help employees be able to haul material from projects like water main repairs. Cost of the 2011 truck is $37,000.

An evaluation of Guthrie’s performance was recently held by the board and board members agreed to a 3.5% pay increase.

Despite the mild winter so far, Guthrie said water supply is plentiful.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.