Citizens express concern in Redfield

Ordinance has some residents considering moving

Rex Moore originally moved to Redfield to be closer to his wife’s family and thought it would be a good place to live.

“It was a nice town and everybody was friendly. You walk down the street, everybody waves at you,” said Moore.

After just two years, Moore is ready to leave.

“Our house is almost paid off and we’re already thinking about just going ahead in April, turning around and selling it and just moving out of town,” explained Moore.

Moore says the problems started when Clarence Guss took office as mayor.

Guss proposed an ordinance to increase the sewer rate from $18 a month to $30, plus an extra $7.50 per person in each household. It passed.

Mayor Guss says the town can’t afford not to raise sewer rates, explaining that he inherited a financial mess.

“In the last year, we’ve collected $5,000 back due sewers and right now, at this point, we cannot get federal help, or any type of loan, because it’s been simply mismanaged and that’s come right from the state,” explained Guss.

Wilma Graham was city clerk at the time and contends that meeting was held without her. Guss’ wife is the new city clerk. Graham calls the changes unfair and unfounded.

“Well, when I was the clerk, we didn’t have any problems with the $18/month and this was set up on a government loan and they told us what to charge for the sewer and how it was paid off, ” said Graham.

Many families in the small town say they can’t afford it.

“There’s families in town that can barely pay the $18 sometimes because it’s a wife and husband that only the husband may work, and they have 3 or 4 kids, and you know that’s 3 or 4 days worth of food,” said Moore.

Guss sent letters to citizens explaining general fund dollars were illegally used for a sewer pump and need to be paid back in 2019.

“So not only are we struggling to get everything on task, but we’re also struggling because we’re praying no pump goes down in the meantime because we have no way of paying for it,” said Guss.

Guss insists that these are sacrifices everyone has to make for the greater good of the town, but Moore is concerned that there won’t be much of a town left, if things continue like they are.

“I know that it’s been low for a long time and they’ve gotta make up some money, but you don’t have to make it up overnight,” Moore said.

The ordinance is set to take effect on January 1, 2019.