iuka

Iuka OKs dividing

gas bills into three payments

By Jane Clark Summers

Daily Journal Corinth Bureau

IUKA – City gas customers, who are having difficulty paying high bills, will have the opportunity to divide the January bill for natural gas into three payments. The board of aldermen voted Tuesday night to extend this courtesy in wake of high bills that have hit some residents especially hard.

“One thing we wanted to propose is a privilege for our residents and gas customers to have more time to pay their bills,” said Mayor David Nichols. “This will give them three payments to pay their bill without penalties or late fees.”

The privilege will be extended to the February bill if necessary.

There will be some criteria for those seeking to negotiate their bills, he said. Individuals wishing to divide the payment should first go to the gas department. If they are turned down, they can go to the mayor and finally the board of aldermen to ask for the privilege of splitting up their payments.

“I think we can determine who has a legitimate need,” Nichols said.

Prices of natural gas are down 30 percent, Nichols said. “We are hoping the price will be down more as the demand eases,” he said. “Hopefully, the worse is behind us. Maybe we can get things back to normal.”

The wholesale cost of natural gas quadrupled in recent months and the price increases have been passed on to consumers.

In a related matter, the board also voted to participate in the Project Homestead’s Warm Neighbor Program. On a motion by Alderman Beth Davis, the board voted unanimously to join the program, which collects donations from utility customers to help needy residents pay their heating and cooling bills. The Tishomingo County Electric Power Company already participates in the program, Davis said.

Gas customers, who sign a form, can donate $1 or more each month to help their needy neighbors pay their gas bill.

The vote is contingent on approval by the state Attorney General’s office.

In other action

The board tabled a discussion on annexing property on U.S. 72 West. Davis, who brought the matter up at last month’s meeting, said she had thought the annexation could be accomplished without cost to the city but has recently learned that an additional police officer might have to be added. Further study is needed before bringing the issue up for discussion, she said.

A group of citizens appeared before the board seeking help in getting Channel 53 added to the cable lineup. The religious oriented television station is available to residents in Tishomingo, Burnsville and North Crossroads but not in Iuka. Mayor Nichols said he will try to arrange a meeting with the cable company to discuss the request.

The board appointed Jim Russell and Jim Seago to the city election commission. O.C. Nelson was appointed last month.