City of Smiley sets utility cost for winter storm bills


Smiley Residents can expect an averaged bill for February water usage, following a decision made by the Smiley City Council at its meeting held Thursday, March 18.

Bills from the previous three months– November, December and January— will be averaged together to come up with an amount for residents to pay following February’s Winter Storm Uri. Whether residents dripped pipes to keep their water moving, or experienced leaks or bursting of pipes due to freezing conditions, Mayor Mike Mills said citizens had expressed concern regarding their water bills for the month.

Mills also said that the city’s continuing issues with water billing will be resolved by May of 2021. In 2020, there was a three-month period from September to November in which bills were not sent. The solution was to charge residents for one month of water usage during this time, while sewer and trash rates remained the same. Following a hard drive crash, utilities data experienced issues which required the manual reentry of information to the system, resulting in some delays of bills, which are expected to be completely on track by May at the latest.

In other business: 

  • The Council discussed the possibility of eventually annexing a subdivision proposed by MC Enterprises’ Michael Cancio, following a presentation from Cancio and Southwest Engineers’ Jerry Shepherd. It was decided that the council should first discuss the costs and processes associated with annexation of property with the City Attorney. Discussion of annexation included the possibility of increasing the city’s tax base, as well as profit from new utility hook ups.
  • An update on COVID-19 in the area was provided by Mayor Mills, who pointed out that while masks were no longer required by the state, some businesses are choosing to have customers continue wearing them.
  • The Fire Department Report could not be given due to the absence of Fire Chief Griffin.
  • City Marshall Lawrence Robles gave a report of fees for the Municipal Court and his own office for the month of February.
  • The Council approved minutes for the Sept. 24, Oct. 22, Nov. 16, and Nov. 19 meetings, but tabled minutes for the Dec. 17, Jan. 21, Feb. 19 and Feb. 25 meetings.
  • Bills to be paid by the city were approved.
  • Council approved the sale of city property to a resident following a survey and discussion with the City Attorney.
  • A request for variance to city zoning rules was heard by the council and it was determined that the city would work with the requestor to visit the property and see what could be done.
  • The council approved the addition of new signatories to its Wells Fargo account, as well as the removal of previous council members.
  • The addition of a deposit for bulk water and trash services was approved.
  • The pursuit of training and certification for all departments of the City of Smiley in the interest of securing future grant funding was approved.
  • Regarding a letter from a resident concerning property, the council deferred action until they could speak with the City Attorney.