Joann Courtland and Fred Chavez, two new members of the City Council, got to offer input on a hotly discussed subject Tuesday night in their first council meeting.
Interim City Manager Ryan Haverlah presented a 15-item list consisting of potential moves to improve customer service, billing, and communication through the Utility Administration Department services in the city.
Several city staff compiled the list of potential action items for future meetings following several complaints about Fathom — the city’s third-party water supplier — that have multiplied over the past two years, Haverlah said.
Fathom serves as the third-party system responsible for billing and customer service. The city is responsible for the maintenance of the water equipment.
Internal discussions regarding a plan to move forward with improved customer service and billing were discussed, and included a potential renovation to the old utility administration building on South Main Street, extra staff for the city’s utility department, heightened communication with Fathom representatives and town halls.
“We need to start showing that we care about customer service in this arena,” Courtland said, indicating support for several of the propositions presented to Cove Council.
Councilman Chavez echoed the sentiment, calling for fence mending and decrying constant arguing.
“We need to show that we do hear people and what is going on,” he said. “There comes a time where we have to suck it up, bite the bullet and do the right thing.”
A highly requested item on the list, according to Haverlah, was for Fathom to potentially provide a quarterly in-person update to the council for 2019, and an annual in-person update after 2020.
A quarterly report and update could come as early as Feb. 5, Haverlah said.
In other business, council awarded a $763,777 contract to A&S Underground Contractors for repairs to South 19th Street.
A deteriorating corrugated drainage pipe system that runs under South 19th Street from Park Avenue to South 15th Street needs repair.