NL council defines city residency
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
NEW LONDON — After some heated discussion, the New London City Council approved an ordinance requiring members of the utility board of trustees to have their primary residence in the New London Utilities service area.
One New London citizen was questioning what defined a primary residence for the ordinance, and said, “What if I got a house and a mailing address and paid taxes in another town? I need a better definition of primary residence.”
“Primary residence is the house you live in six months and one day, that would be my definition of primary,” said Councilmember Dan Berner. “There are many people who live in Arizona a few months out of the year and their primary residence is here in New London.”
“So then as long as you are living in the service area or are paying a utility bill then you would be in?” asked community member Darrel Gipple. “So Yarmouth or anything with the utilities would be ok?”
Councilmember Kirk Miller explained that this ordinance is not something new, as the city had one like it several years back.
“It used to be this way back in the late ’80s and early ’90s when I was working here,” said Miller. “The board changed it so they could get somebody from out in the country on the utility board.”
Once the members of the community who were present at the meeting understood what the ordinance was for, the question arose of why the council chose to make the changes at the current time.
“I’d like to know who and what brought this up,” said Gipple. “Is there an issue with one of the board members or something? I’d like to think we aren’t singling out any one person.”
“No, its like I said at the last meeting,” responded Miller. “We have a board member who is possibly moving out of town. I don’t know for sure yet one way or the other, but we had to look up our policies and for every other board in town you have to be in town, so we are just trying to stay uniform with all of our boards. This isn’t to single anyone out. It was just brought to our attention and we would like to stay uniform across the board.”
Before the council put the proposed ordinance to a vote, it was decided to state in the ordinance that primary residence is defined as the residence a person lives in “at least six months and one day or over half of the year,” instead of letting a residents common sense define the word primary.
“You can’t depend on common sense definitions of an ordinance,” said Councilmember Mark Hempen.
The council also:
• Approved an ordinance adopting provisions pertaining to private wells.
• Approved a resolution for voluntary annexation and severance of certain city-owned real estate located on South Pine Street into and from the City of New London.
• Appointed Nancy McCleary to the H.J. Nugen Library board to replace Victoria McLaughlin.
• Approved Unum to provide group life insurance for city employees.
• Discussed the cost of purchasing new Christmas decorations for the street lights.
• Discussed the contract for garbage and yard waste pickup.
The next New London City Council meeting will be Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the city office.