City reviewing water, sewer warranties for residents

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The city of Madisonville took a cautious route Monday night on whether to offer residents the services of a warranty company to handle repairs on external water lines, sewer lines and in-home plumbing and drainage lines, repairs not under the city’s purview.

City Council members tabled a vote on letting Utility Service Partners, a unit of UK-based HomeServe use the city’s logo in its marketing efforts on their warranty services in Madisonville.

“When you put your logo on there, it seems like you’re certifying it,” Mayor Pro Tem Russell Bailey said during discussions. “You just have to make sure everything is covered.”

Utility Service Partners would offer residents a three-year contract for warranty services, offering repairs from area plumbers and other contractors for a monthly fee between $5.75 and $10, depending on the plan. The price of the service plan would not be able to rise more than 50 cents a month without a written agreement between the involved parties.

Utility Service Partners would market their own service, but asked the city for a list of addresses, names and the use of the city logo to make sure residents know they aren’t being scammed.

The use of the logo was the reason for pushback by some council members, who requested city attorney John Bankhead review the contract between the city and the company. They will revisit the matter in next month’s City Council meeting.

“We want to be certain, when we put our logo on something, we want to be sure we can answer questions when the phone starts ringing,” Mayor Bill Parten said, though he also pointed out the potential benefit of the warranty plan for residents. Parten himself had to hire a plumber to repair a sewer line recently at his home.

“It cost me $700,” he told the council.

In other matters Monday, Police Chief Herbert Gilbert said he was going to visit with the funeral directors around the city in regard to recouping expenses incurred by the police department when providing escorts for funeral services.

Officers and vehicles for the escorts are pulled away during regular duty hours, he told the council, meaning the city was paying for the time and vehicle use for unofficial duties. Neither

Gilbert nor the council knew if any of the funeral homes pass a cost to their customers, but that Gilbert would visit with funeral directors in town to investigate.

The council also approved a measure allowing retired city employees under the age of 65 the ability to purchase health insurance through the city’s plan, though it would be self-paid.

The matter was already prepared for the city’s employee handbook, but a city ordinance was required to make it official.

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