The Saratoga Sun -

Festival ordinance tops discussion

Need for committee questioned at Riverside council meeting, backup water operator needed, delinquent water bill options discussed


The talk of a music festival ordinance once again topped the discussion during the regularly scheduled Riverside Town Council meeting at 6 p.m. on June 14 at Riverside Town Hall. The town council also discussed selling the Polaris Ranger used by both the town and the Sierra Madre Joint Powers Board (SMJPB), advertising for a new backup wastewater operator and the possibility of shutting of water and sewer users past due on their bills.

Lee Ann Stephenson, representing the Sierra Madre Joint Powers Board, informed the town council that the SMJPB had decided the night before to sell the Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) as it was not being used. Mayor Leroy Stephenson added that the town had no use for it either and so the motion was made for town clerk Jan Cook to research pricing on the UTV and put it out for bid.

Leroy Stephenson also informed the council that the current backup wastewater operator, Gary Boutwell, had his residence on the market and would likely leave shortly after it sold. Stephenson proposed advertising for a replacement backup operator for when Boutwell eventually leaves. Cook informed the council that Boutwell was currently making $480 a month. Fred Lorenz, Riverside Town Council member, told Stephenson that he didn’t think the town could hire someone for less than that.

After further discussion, the motion was made to advertise for the replacement position with the addition that pay would depend upon experience.

The council was also informed that the SMJPB had discussed possible policies for when users are delinquent on their bills.

“We are working on policy on how the town and the water board can share information when there’s delinquencies. You guys can’t really turn off a sewer, we can turn off water, so we’re trying to coordinate some of those things,” said Lee Ann Stephenson.

The question was brought up by Liz Swynarczuck, council member, as to the legality of shutting off water to a house, especially if it was home to children or someone who was considered disabled. According to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, part of the United States Health and Human Services, water can be disconnected for delinquency if the temperature is above freezing.

Additionally, if a physician can determine if a household member is disable or seriously ill there is a 15 day delay in disconnection. If a household member is on life support, that delay can be extended to 30 days. In both cases, the users must enter into a payment agreement with the municipality.

Finally, the council addressed the ongoing discussion over the requirement for an ordinance for music festivals. As was reported in the Saratoga Sun on April 19, council member Katie Cheesbrough had provided an update on the music festival committee assembled by Mayor LeroStephenson. Stephenson presented the council with a draft document based on the last updates provided by Cheesbrough.

Cheesbrough was absent during the town council meeting and so was unable to provide any input from the music festival committee.

“I’m wondering if we even need a committee,” said Swynarczuck. “The town people elected us to oversee the best interest of the town. I’m thinking if we had a council member that acted as an organizer it would make it easier, quicker and cleaner.”

Council members Lorenz and Ed Golden echoed Swynarczuck’s thoughts. Golden added that if there were to be a committee, it would need a chairman in cases where the other members might not agree on an issue. Lorenz addressed the fluidity of the document as a concern for him.

“I don’t like to see things too stringent or too tight, but there’s a lot of room for movement in there,” said Lorenz.

“My concern is, somebody needs to be answering the questions that need to be answered whenever we have a huge event,” added Stephenson.

The council moved to table the discussion until the next council meeting.

In other business, the council unanimously approved the renewal of the liquor license for Encampment Hospitality doing business as The Bear Trap Bar and Cafe as well as 24-hour liquor permits for Aug. 4, 2018, March 9, 2019, March 17, 2019 and June 15, 2019.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Riverside Town Council will be at 6 p.m. on July 12 at the Riverside Town Hall.


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