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2015-04-30

City office closure concerns resident(s)

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

According to a City of Bandera resident, one reason the municipality finds itself underwater with revenues might be because it has become difficult to pay utility bills of late.
According to a man who called the Courier on Monday, April 27, to complain about the situation, he went to the municipal building with utility bill and check in hand, only to find the office closed on Tuesday, April 21, and Friday, April 24.
"There needs to be a story written about this. It isn't right," said the man who declined to give his full name. "This has happened to other people, too, and I said I'd take care of it."
When queried about the situation, Mayor John Hegemier offered, "He probably went over on someone's lunch hour." When apprised that the man had gone at 3:30 pm both days, Hegemier admitted that he, too, had noticed the office closed when it should have been open.
"The city's customer service attitude needs to be adjusted," Hegemier said. "This isn't right. I don't know why other employees can't take payments." He noted that in the past former City Administrator Gene Foerster, former City Secretary Linda Boshek and even former Public Works Director Mike Cardenas had all pinched in on occasion.
When apprised of the citizen's complaint, City Administrator Lamar Schulz echoed Hegemier, saying, "He probably went over on someone's lunch hour." Then, he cited the April 20 departure of former utility clerk Lisa Chacon as contributing to the problem. "We haven't replaced her yet," he said.
Additionally, City Secretary Karen Chesler, who often filled in for the now-decamped Chacon, had taken off one afternoon, according to Schulz.
"This was just an isolated situation and it shouldn't happen again unless one of the employees is on lunch break," he said.
With that in mind, city residents are advised to call ahead at 830-796-3765 or 830-460-7170 before heading to the municipal building to pay bills. That way, they'll be sure that someone's on duty.