It may soon be illegal for Sugar Creek residents to reside in a home within the city limits without access to city water.

It may soon be illegal for Sugar Creek residents to reside in a home within the city limits without access to city water.

The Board of Aldermen discussed its options in drafting such an ordinance Monday.

According to city staff, the new proposal stems from people who do not pay their water bills, resulting in their water getting shut off, and then living without running water in their homes.

If approved, the ordinance – which is still being ironed out – would mandate any person occupying a business or residence in Sugar Creek have a legal connection to a public water supply.

City attorney Bob Buckley said the ordinance would also prevent people from “stealing” water from their neighbors (through use of water hoses or five-gallon buckets, etc.), but city administrator Ron Martinovich wanted to make sure the right person is held responsible.

“If a tenant doesn’t pay (the water bill), the owner is cited,” Martinovich. “You’re holding the owner responsible.”

Ultimately, the Board of Aldermen agreed the ordinance should be worded so occupants bore the responsibility.

Police Chief Herb Soule said once police officers are advised of a situation in which a person has lived in a residence for 60 days without water, officers would go to that home to find out why there is no water and what needs to happen to restore the water. However, if the occupant – after working with officers – still doesn’t remedy the situation, he or she could be cited.

Because there were still questions on the wording of the ordinance, the board agreed to hold off on a vote until it could be revised.