A bill that would allow the city of Lake Ozark to charge utility customers a fee for turning off the water main at the nearest valve, for extra meter reads and that will require customers to install a shut off valve inside their homes will come back up for discussion again. This time, officials said they are going to attach an amendment to the ordinance explaining that the $25 fee can be waived if the homeowner installs a shut off valve within seven days of the city performing the work.


A bill that would allow the city of Lake Ozark to charge utility customers a fee for turning off the water main at the nearest valve, for extra meter reads and that will require customers to install a shut off valve inside their homes will come back up for discussion again. This time, officials said they are going to attach an amendment to the ordinance explaining that the $25 fee can be waived if the homeowner installs a shut off valve within seven days of the city performing the work.
The fee will also be waived when it’s necessary to make repairs to the water line between the valve and the house, or when the water meter is misreading and needs to be adjusted.
The bill cleared the first round of voting but failed the second time around. Several aldermen raised concerns about the city arbitrarily charging fees to residents.
If an older structure does not have a shut off valve and there is a leak, the resident already has to pay for a plumber and for the extra water. The resident would then be charged another fine by the city to have their water turned off, and have to pay the plumber to install an internal shut off valve.
Officials said the cost was adding up too high for residents.
With the added amendment, residents can make the choice for themselves.
‘Flush and rush’ is a thing of the past as the city implements a more aggressive policy for collecting overdue utility bills. Residents with past due bills can now be punished with collections, utility shutoffs and liens against the property.
City Administrator Dave Van Dee said the new policy is the city’s aim to communicate, not stir trouble.
While the majority of utility users are current on their bills, there are several who are more than a year behind on their accounts, Van Dee said, and have made no attempt to contact the city.
Van Dee said the city would be happy to help them work out a reasonable payment plan, but they have to walk in the door first.
There are numerous water and sewer customers who are season employees and have their bills set up through the city so that they pay a little more in the summer months when money isn’t so tight.
“They might get a little behind, but they make it up in the end,” Van Dee said. “The policy isn’t about them. It’s about the people who aren’t responding at all and get them to step forward.”
The city will begin to take action on utility bills more than 60 days past due. The first step is for the city’s attorney to draft a courtesy letter explaining the steps the city will take.
Van Dee said he expects the majority of past due accounts to contact the city at this step, before it reaches the final stages and the city has to take any liens out on any property.
Because water and sewer rates are based on everybody paying their share, Van Dee pointed out that the policy is for the benefit of everybody on the system.
“If people aren’t (paying their share), we have to raise rates higher or raise rates sooner to make up the difference,” Van Dee said.
With a $50,000 Water Bond payment coming up Oct. 1, the additional money will add a little cushion in the city’s books.
In other business, the aldermen gave its nod of approval to a rezoning request for The Bluffs on Tuesday night clearing one more hurdle for the new, high-end condominium complex. The request was to change a parcel of land’s classification from CR-3 Mixed-Use High Density District to R-3 Multiple Family Dwelling District.
The proposed development site is on Bagnell Dam Boulevard between Regent Place condominium complex and Pizza Hut, and across the street from Monarch Plaza.
Developer Shawnee Bluff, LLC, is envisioning a high-end condominium complex at the site to maximize the terrain and the great views of the lake. The complex will have a natural, rustic motif to blend in with the surrounding landscape. It will feature three buildings each six stories tall with 24 condo units per building. While all six stories will be visible from the bluff side, only four stories will be visible from the street side.
The complex will also have 144 parking spaces, half of which will be in garages built into hill.
Each three bedroom, three bathroom unit has been designed to get the best quality views of the lake, Thomas Roof, of TR, Inc., an architectural firm, said.
The 1,700-square feet and up units will be priced in the $350-500,000 range, Roof added.
Each building will have its own elevator and another one will take people down to the docks, Roof said, making the entire complex wheelchair accessible and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant.
The next step for the developer is to present their site plans to the Planning and Zoning Commission for approval.

Contact Lake Sun reporter Deanna Wheeler at deanna.wheeler@lakesunonline.com.