A proposed leak protection program for city water and sewer customers will go before the Rome City Commission tonight.

The board also is expected to finalize a change to the downtown district parking ordinance that was initiated the same day the ordinance was to go into effect.

Commissioners caucus at 5 p.m. and start their regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall, 601 Broad St. Both sessions are public.

A first reading of the leak protection ordinance is scheduled at the regular meeting. Water and Sewer Division Director Mike Hackett said notices would go out with an effective date – likely Aug. 1 – if the board adopts it on a second reading.

The ordinance would automatically add a fee, expected to be $1.65, to each customer’s monthly bill. In return, they’ll be covered for up to $2,000 a year in unexpected charges due to defects on their side of the system.

Hackett said any problems past the city’s water meter are the customer’s responsibility. They deal with several hundred cases a year, with adjustments averaging $20 to $500.

“Sixty percent of our calls are on the customer’s side, but we want them to call us first,” Assistant Director Tim Brunson told the water and sewer committee last week. “It could save a potential plumber bill. If it’s ours, we fix it. If it’s not, when they call the plumber they’re sure it’s theirs.”

The water and sewer committee is recommending the fee. Customers will be able to opt out but would not be eligible for an adjustment if they have a leak.

The proposed insurance would be for up to two leaks a year with adjustments of up to $1,000 each. Proof of repair will be required for the adjustment.

Also during the regular meeting the board is scheduled to amend the downtown parking ordinance to allow on-street parking for up to three hours a day – consecutive or cumulative – from the two hour limit.

Enforcement hours also will be cut back to from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., instead of to 8 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays.

The vote was 5 to 2 on the first reading last month. Commissioners Jamie Doss and Evie McNiece were opposed. Commissioners Bill Irmscher and Wendy Davis were not present but are expected to attend the meeting tonight.

The issue is a contentious one, with some downtown business owners opposed to limits and others in support.

The move is intended to gather data toward a plan to make deck parking free and on-street parking paid. There are about 3,000 people who live or work in the district and the city wants to maintain the 300 prime on-street spaces for customers and visitors.

The City Commission’s complete agenda is posted on the board’s web page at RomeFloyd.com.

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